Mick Fanning and Corey Wilson first met while staying together at the Rip Curl house on Oahu in 2012. At the time, Fanning was a two-time world champion. Wilson, an upstart photographer from Santa Cruz. Over the course of six weeks they forged a friendship, and have traveled all around the world in each other's company in the five years since.
A lot has happened in that time. World titles. Sharks. Discoveries. Heartache. Fanning and Wilson have been through it all together. And now, they're sharing all of that (and a whole lot more) in this book. "Growing up I was totally focused on events, winning and performing the best I could with a jersey on," Fanning says, in his handwritten intro. "Video parts and photos were just a bi-product and if they happened, cool. If not so be it. That was until I started working with Corey. His enthusiasm to work and better himself inspired me to better myself in this area of my job. My focus shifted and I wanted to create something with a friend to be proud of."
We sat down with Corey and Mick to hear more about the project.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
Corey: The idea came up at Bell's last year. I was going through a bunch of my photos and I realized I had so many images of Mick from just the past four years. And there's a lot of different stuff. Tons and tons of photos. So I approached Mick with the idea of doing a book together, so that everything could live in one place.
Mick: When he says together, I didn't get to pick a thing...[laughs]
Corey: Ever since I was a kid I've always wanted to do a book. And there's nothing better than doing it with one of your best friends.
Mick: Again, when he says with one of your friends, I was just the subject [more laughs all around].
Mick, is there anyone you've spent more time with than Corey over the last few years?
Mick: No. We've been traveling pretty thick together for a while now, and then I have to put up with him at my place as well [laughs]. But nah, it's been fun. For me, working on something like this was good because I got to do something new. My goalposts kind of changed recently–growing up I was never into shooting photos or videos because it was all about getting results. So this a completely new experience.
Now that it's finished, how does it feel to have this printed piece that chronicles the last five years of your life?
Mick: I'm really proud and honored to receive something like this. As Corey said, it started with him just wanting to do a project, and for me, it felt more like a gift.
Corey: And it just naturally happened. It's not like we spent five years thinking we had to work on this book.
How did it feel to have complete control over your photos? Rather than having a photo editor or a brand curate your images?
Corey: That was my favorite part. I wanted every page to feel completely different. So there's tropical stuff, then there are these cold, iceberg photos from Alaska, then there's lifestyle, portraits, competition stuff, world titles, being happy, being sad...and along with all those photos and crazy emotions, I gave Mick a notebook to travel around with, and he wrote about his life, traveling, and all sorts of random shit.
How did you choose what you wanted to write about? It's all very personal, and super reflective. It's obvious you didn't sit down and write everything in a few hours.
Mick: A lot of the thoughts are stuff I've had in my head for a while. But I never put pen to paper, I just always had these ideas. But I had five days to kill in between two trips last year, so I went to Amsterdam by myself to cruise around and be quiet, and that just felt like the right place to write it all down.
It's cool to see those notes handwritten in the book. It definitely adds a layer of personality.
Corey: Yeah, I wanted Mick's personal touch. Even though I chose all the photos, the writing goes along with certain images and helps tell the story.
Being a self-published photo project, when and where can people get their hands on it?
Corey: It'll be available on January 29, on my website [coreywilson.shop]. But you can find links to it on Mick's Facebook, my Instagram, and a bunch of other places, too. It's pretty much only being sold online.
You mentioned releasing a limited number of signed copies, will those also be available online?
Corey: We did three editions: The collector's edition, a limited edition, and the regular edition. The collector's one will be signed and dated by Mick and I. There are a 100 of those. Then there are 150 limited edition copies and the rest are regular edition. But yeah, it'll all be online. The cool thing is we got to choose everything: We picked the material, the paper stock, my brother [Scott Wilson] did all the layouts...it was fun to do a project like this where I got to put my personal touch on everything.
Mick: And I didn't have to do a thing [more laughter].
Head over to coreywilson.shop to purchase the book. It'll be available starting on January 29