Mick Fanning speaks at CNN International EDGE in New York

Written by by Staff Writer

“Big wave surfing is not necessarily what it used to be, but it is now,” says Mick Fanning. “A lot of great women surfers like Malia Manuel have come on the scene and women have never done it before.”

The former two-time Masters Champion, now 27, also takes on journalists, family, leadership and his trademark wavy haircut.

CNN: Could you ever have imagined that you would be a two-time Masters Champion and remain on the ‘Punk’ rocker duds?

Mick Fanning: It’s definitely far beyond anything I could have dreamt of growing up.

CNN: After winning, you were very emotional. Why do you think this is more important than winning any other Championship?

Fanning: I’ve been fighting for this Championship for a number of years and to actually get it is an unbelievable feeling.

It’s so important because these are people that have made the effort to pay to travel to watch you perform and to watch you win, which is a really hard thing to do in the surfing industry at the moment.

I had a lot of personal difficulties in recent years, and I think that’s why I got emotional.

Fanning will return to the water on September 11, where he will compete in the 2016 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

CNN: What do you consider the most important lesson in your life?

Fanning: Listen to what the people around you say and listen to your gut instincts and gut feel and opinions.

For a lot of people I think the eyes can be deceiving, because a lot of the time the people around you that think they know what you’re thinking, they don’t.

I’ve said a lot of good things, and I’ve also said a lot of really bad things and people know that in my head.

You’ve got to trust yourself and don’t let the people around you, who you probably don’t really listen to that much, tell you what to do.

CNN: Could you ever have imagined that you would be a two-time Masters Champion and remain on the ‘Punk’ rocker duds?

Fanning: I think I could do the long hair, but not the skinny jeans, and we found some nice short sleeves for that.

It’s just so much fun.

CNN: How do you maintain that long hair?

Fanning: I actually wear a lot of products to keep it going.

But I think in terms of the grooming, you’re not supposed to have a real deep man’s beard, so you have to cut it for that reason.

I have to keep putting the shampoo on it every couple of days, so that helps me, too.

CNN: What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in the surfing industry?

Fanning: I think just really focusing on the passion that you have in surfing is the most important thing you can do.

If you put effort in — showing up to surf and show up for that whole long season — people are so diehard about the sport now that maybe you have a chance to make it work and there’s more opportunities.

We have a lot of jobs out there and, in order to break into that position, you need to really be willing to put in the hard work.

I think there’s more opportunities now and a lot of different routes are available, so I think it’s just more important to just be happy in what you’re doing and not dwell on all the bad stuff that’s happening to you.

CNN: What is one of the more devastating situations that you’ve encountered on the beach?

Fanning: Like an event like the Mick Fanning Foundation, when we took the charity out to a nursery in Australia and a child literally drowned in front of us.

We did very good work out there and we got him out of the water and to the hospital, but I think it showed you how fragile life can be.

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