A Most Fascinating Day In The Life of Retired Mick Fanning, Occy and Christian Fletcher, Plus Mikey Wright Leads the QS!

2 Mar 2018 1 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was March 2, 2018

1. Mick Fanning Is Retiring

Only Mick Fanning has the power in Australian surfing to make surfing news so big that it becomes legitimate front page news (had the full backpage of The Age in Melbourne on Wednesday, mad rare), and this week he did just that by announcing he would be retiring from competition surfing at the Bells Rip Curl Pro.

It's dominated all facets of surfing media all over the world, so there's little I'll add to it here, but if you read one piece on the Mick Fanning retirment, make sure it's the one by Sean Doherty on SurfingWorld.com.au, 'cause it's the best.

While there's been a bunch of tribute clips, the most fascinating to come out so far is no doubt the second one below, where a fly on the wall style camera sticks with Mick for a behind the scenes look at a a full day of interviews and media circus that only Mick can generate.



2. Mikey Wright Takes Early QS Lead

After winning the Australian Boardriders Battle for Culburra, Mikey Wright backed up that performance by taking out the first semi-major QS of the year, the iconic Surfest event at Newcastle, and claimed the 6000 points on offer. Do we dare dream of a CT with Mikey Wright on it? It's early in the year, but last year it took Patrick Gudauskas 16,400 points to qualify for this year's Championship Tour. So at this rate, with one serious comp under the belt, Mikey Wright is 1/3rd of the way there.

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro has also been off and racing this week, with all the finals action going down this weekend. Mikey has again been performing well, is yet to not win a heat and is through to Round 5 where he'll face former CT mainstay Miguel Pupo. If he were to make the final he would be replicating Jesse Mendes stellar start to last year's QS season that saw him qualify in a canter halfway through the year. Fun signs.

As for a highlight video of the win, I couldn't find one. Instead, here is Mikey and Jackson Baker appearing on the Channel 10 show The Project following the Aus Boardriders Battle two weekends ago. Classic.

A post shared by Mikey Wright (@mikeywright1) on

3. WSL Gets A Teams Competition

Out of nowhere, the WSL announced that they would be running a teams competition in Kelly Slater's wave pool this May, called The Founders' Cup presented by a beer you can't regularly buy in Australia whose name escapes me right now (officially official title). The event will be open to the public via purchaseable tickets, like a real life sporting specacle, and will feature teams from the regions of Australia, USA, Europe, Brazil and... World, the region of World. Last week, following how good the Aus Boardriders Battle was, I asked in this here column why couldn't we have a one off teams event with the WSL's most elite and world class surfers. And here we are. This week I will ask, why can't North Melbourne win the AFL premiership this year, and why can't all my dreams and aspirations easily come true in a week? Do your work universe. Thanks!

4. Christian Fletcher On The Occ-Cast

Woah, if this isn't the most fascinating surf podcast this year, I will eat my hat. Christian Fletcher is a wildly interesting dude and an icon in the pillars surf evolution. He drops incredible soundbites all over this one, which give us a chance to see just how great Occy has developed as an interviewer. The way Occy paws softly through some of the more contentious things Fletcher says is actually quite sensitively done, and is a tough thing to pull off from the interviewer's chair.

The best example of this is when Fletcher sounds off on how weed basically heals every disease. "It can," Occy responds. Not ready to blindly agree, but not stopping the flow of Fletcher and the interview either, brilliant.

The spiciest take in the interview of course is when Occy asks what he thinks of Donald Trump. "What do I think of Donald Trump? I fucking love the guy," Fletcher responds. 

That's okay, I guess, kinda, but more alarming than that are the views Fletcher offers on poverty, "I think there is a reason people are poor," he says. "They don’t work.” Which is just so not cool.

Ignoring the cyclic nature of wealth and poverty as well as the complicated socio-economic factors that contribute to these conditions is an ignorant and dangerous attitutde to hold. Put simply, blaming the poor for being poor is a really, really shitty thing to do. And it's important to recognise these kinds of thoughts and opinions when we are celebrating our surfing heroes and giving them a platform.

Anyway, the whole thing is fascinating and well worth listening/watching for every single minute.

5. Letty Mortensen In Tropical Nest

Avalon's Letty Mortensen keeps getting better and better. After realising he hadn't touched his travel fund from his Rusty sponsorship, he took to Indonesia for four weeks with filmmaker Tyler Bell (as well as some water cinematography by Jimmy Kinnaird) and scored a whole bunch of baggable clips.

6. Ross Clarke-Jones Almost Had a Close Call At Nazare

This week in nightmare scenarios, Ross Clarke-Jones gets washed into the rocks at Nazare, Portugal. He survives, of course, but far out that's a scary scene.

7. Jake Paterson's SnakeTales Hits Merewether

The most underrated web series in surfing is back in 2018, documenting all the candid action and surf action from the WSL's Qualifying Series. Stop 1, Surfest at Merewether, Newcastle.

8. Meet CT Rookie Griffin Colapinto

Speaking of SnakeTales, regular star of the series Griffin Colapinto is arguably the most exciting WSL CT rookie we've had in some time (probably equal with another 2018 debutant, Yago Dora). He got the WSL mini-doc treatment this week.

9. This Week's Happiest Moment: This Photo of Quadraplegic Surfer Josh Clift Getting Amongst It 

The Possible Surf Festival is a festival for people with spinal injuries  and it's coming to Collaroy NSW in December 2018. The below photo was taken in a trial run on the Northern Beaches this week, and shows the lengths that are taken to help quadraplegic and paraplegic surfers get in the ocean again to catch some waves. I'll let Dave Platter from Possible Surf Festival explain what's happening:

"In this pic, assistants help quadriplegic surfer Josh Clift of Scone, NSW into the water in a beach-ready wheelchair with giant inflated wheels. It works like this: Josh is loaded into the chair, carried down the stairs to the beach, then rolled down into the water until he is in deep enough to float up off the chair. This is the hard part, Josh has to flip himself onto his belly and with help get onto the board."


Photo: James Mills

Photo: James Mills


10. Lipped Surf Podcast Previews The CT

Back for 2018 are Jimmy and Cahill Bell Warren from Lipped previewing the huge year in store for surfing fans over the next 12 months. There's also a cameo from surfing's worst writer on the backhalf of the podcast talking all things predictions for the year to come. Give it a listen.

This Week's Classic Surf Music Memory

This Week In Surfing's Classic Surf Music Memory is brought to you by Summer Bright Lager

One of the many musical moments in the three decade spanning career of Kelly Slater, the greatest surfer who will ever live, is this 2014 solo release: Feelin' The Feelings featuring Karina Zeviani and Pretinho da Serrinha.

The song – a catchy and light pop number – is amazing. It is so middle of the road, nothing bad about it, nothing interesting about it, nothing particularly good about it, that listening to it feels kind of like eating a loaf of plain white bread with a glass of water on the side for dipping. The Ikea art of music. Is it not incredible that a song titled feeling the feelings makes you feel absolutely nothing at all? Make no mistake though, Kelly can play, and he can sing. And he is definitely playing and singing right here. Playing and singing so much.

Check out Summer Bright's Lager's Summer Sessions Music Tour this summer where unfortunately Kelly Slater won't be playing, but Alex Lahey will.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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