Winter Escapes

Mick Fanning's top five destinations this season

Mick Fanning slotted at P-Pass, one of the most coveted right-hand barrels in the world. Photo: Swilly

After nine months on the road chasing the World Title, you’d assume that Mick Fanning would like nothing more than to kick back and relax at the end of the season. While he does make a point of being home for the holidays, eventually Fanning can’t help but to get back on the road and look for more perfect waves. If you find yourself with some free time and extra coin this season, let Mick’s top five destinations provide a little food for thought.

Located off the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia, P-Pass has earned itself a reputation as one of the most coveted right-hand barrels in the world. The months of October through April pick up the most swell, and if you can handle the notoriously rugged journey, you’re nearly guaranteed to score. “If you're fortunate enough to be able to travel this time of year, I'd say that P-Pass is a wave that every surfer should check out,” says Mick. “It's a machine--it really feels mechanical in how perfect it gets when it turns on. It's definitely a bit of a mission to get to, but if you're a natural-footer, I'd say it's worth the mission and then some.”

Surfing's epicenter and Fanning's playground: Pipeline. Photo: Lowe-White

With the World Tour season culminating at Pipe, you’ll often find the best surfers in the world opting to hang around the islands after the event. “I come to Hawaii every year for the Tour, but I’ll stay because it's always so much fun and it's just such a great place,” says Mick. “It's so varied that you can surf just about any type of wave you can think of. Reefs, points, and beachies--it's all there. And that's just the North Shore. There's Maui, Kauai, and the rest of Oahu. If you know where to look, it's not that hard to score waves away from the crowds. Plus, it's always a good place to bring your family.”

You might need a few world titles to your name to get a set wave on the Gold Coast. Photo: Joli

Gold Coast
As one of the most crowded lineups in the world, Snapper is impossible to get a set wave at if your name isn’t Mick Fanning. But according to Mick, there’s much more to the Gold Coast than Snapper alone. “After traveling for so much of the year, it's always nice to be home,” says Mick. “There's so much coastline that it's possible to score good waves all the time. With a little imagination and a full tank of gas, you can make it happen and get some waves away from the crowds. Plus, for me, sharing the point with the boys around the holidays is about as good as it gets.”

The winter months aren't the peak season in Bali, but there are still waves aplenty to be had. Photo: Joli

Although the months of December and January aren’t the best for Bali’s most famous breaks, there are many waves away from the Bukit that fire this time of year. “It's by no means the proper season for a lot of the well-known spots in Bali, but if you go to another side of the coast, up to Nusa Dua or somewhere in that zone, it still gets really good and it's easy to sneak in some waves,” says Mick. “It's also not really crowded during this time of the year and it's only about a five hour trip from where I live.”

A trip to West OZ is a mission, but that only makes the destination that much sweeter. Photo: Bosko

West Oz
Although it isn’t known for having the clean, consistent perfection found on the Gold Coast this time of year, Western Australia still has its moments of brilliance--and without the Gold Coast crowds. “This time of year it can be a bit windy in West Oz, but it's still one of my favorite places to go,” says Mick. “There are so many waves that it feels like it's almost endless. It is a mission to get too though. It takes us just about as long for me to get to Hawaii as it does to get to West Oz, but you just can't beat the waves and the scenery down there.”