Mick Fanning and Mason Ho find cold waves and clarity in the frozen north. After a rollercoaster 2015, Mick figured he had met his drama limit for the decade and opted out of full-time WSL competition in 2016. His goal, to Search with friends. With Mason in tow, here’s Mick’s foray into the icy wilderness.

This trip came at an ideal time for Mick and opted to take 2016 off. To travel for pleasure. To clear his head. To figure out if competition is still his passion, or if trips like this should make up the balance of his career. And so, after competing at Snapper and Bells — while his peers made the short flight from Melbourne to Perth to chase points in Margaret River — Mick went north, to chase perspective.

We’re trying to explore 34,000 miles of coastline at 8mph. I don’t know the math on that, but I’m guessing it’d take more than a lifetime to give it the full search. Captain Mike explains as we board his boat (a 60-foot fishing vessel retrofitted for surf exploration).

A lifetime? We’ve got a week. Let’s see what we can do. Scott — first mate, photographer and drone pilot — gives us a tour of our new home. Bags and bodies in the bunks below. Boards and beers up top. Survival suits are here. Earmuffs are here. Don’t fall in there.

As we motor out of the bay, Mick wears a pensive expression as he takes in the grandiose surroundings. Mountains rise 5,000 feet from the sea. One-ton sea lions swim near the boat. The bald eagles, circling in the thermals along the cliffs, have wingspans bigger than Mason Ho.

It’s like going through nature’s art gallery! Mick says, enjoying every piece.

Mason is a bit more boisterous in voicing his approval.

How f–king sick is this???!!! CHEEEEE-HOOOOO!

He swipes the screen a few times and holds the phone out to replay his words filtered through a high-pitched chipmunk voice. He laughs, and then everyone laughs, because Mason’s laughter is as contagious as the common cold.

Everything is bigger here — the mountains, the beaches, the trees — and in their shadows, the waves look unrideable. Ankle-high slop on a rocky shore. Still, it’s been a lot of traveling and Mick and Mason are anxious to test the waters. Mike and Scott said the water was in the low 40s, but with no point of reference, how cold is that, really?

Full story here.

Directed, Filmed and Edited by Andrew Buckley.
Additional Footage by Scott Dickerson and Taylor Paul.