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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Fanning talks Bells and royal weddings


Mick Fanning warming up at Bells before the start of the waiting period.

Mick Fanning will be the first to tell you that he had a shocker in March at the Quiksilver Pro. But "it's a long year," and after a month at home, surfing, tuning on boards and getting his yoga on, the two-time world champ is looking forward to getting back into "comp mode" for the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. We caught up with Fanning in Torquay just before he headed out for a warm-up session, here's where his head is at:

What have you been doing to keep yourself focused and prepared since the Snapper contest a month ago?
Mate, not a great deal to be honest. I've been surfing when there's waves and working on boards. We've had some dream swells on the east coast of Oz during the break, so I've just been surfing my guts out. When there are waves I generally put training on the backburner because there's no better training for surfing than surfing. I did the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, which sort of snapped me back into competition mode, and now I'm down here at Bells ready to go.

You've mentioned you're pretty happy with your boards right now, any specific changes that are making a difference?
I'm back on a 6'0". The last couple of years I dropped down an inch in size to a 5'11", but I started feeling like I was missing some drive in my turns, so I've stepped it back up and it feels better. We've made some modifications to the tail shape so the board is still super loose and I can still get a little loony on it.

After his wake-up call at the Quik Pro, Fanning's eager to get back on track at Bells.

50 years of Bells, what's it mean to be part of that history?
It's unreal. I've been thinking about it a lot this week. I watched an interview with Mark Richards on the Rip Curl site the other day and he was talking about the trophy and how The Bell is the best trophy in surfing. He was spot on. I love my Bells trophy; it's the pride of my trophy cabinet. It's bizarre thing to say, but the Bells trophy is actually more iconic than the World Title cup.

Did you fly to Bells or go on an Michael Peterson-style road trip?
Ha! I don't think I'd survive an MP style road trip. I just flew down. The drive is a little draining. A road trip would have been fun and I've done it in the past, but I was just keen to log some hang time at home before heading down there this year.

How important is a good result at Bells to setting up the rest of the season?
Well, history tells us a good result at Bells is crucial in a successful World Title campaign. For me Bells is even more important this year because I had a bloody shocker on the Gold Coast.

What may be something unique that the judges will be looking for at Bells?
Big high-risk moves is what's been turning them on. Bells is a unique wave though and sometimes the judges have a unique way of scoring the place. So I don't think we'll know until we see scores start dropping in during the first heat. I always get down there a few heats before just to see what they're after.

Any thoughts or opinions now that the ASP restructuring and the One World rankings have been adopted?
I think we started seeing a positive change when the tour numbers were reduced last year. In my opinion the surfing went to a new level, and I think 2011 is looking like being a pretty phenomenal year. When that first chop happens this year I think the number of new faces we see on tour'll surprise us. I think the ASP in heading in a good direction.

Julian and Kelly have golf, the Hobgoods play tennis, you pick up any hobbies or pastimes lately?
I've been getting into a lot of yoga lately, I'm kind of hooked on it at the moment. I'm also playing touch footy too, which is kind of like rugby league without the tackles.

How closely are you following the build up to the royal wedding?
Really closely ... they're using my wife's wedding directory website -- thelane.com -- to plan the royal wedding. It's awesome!

Final thoughts before the start of the contest?
I'm just psyching for some good waves after the Goldy. I got the worst of it up there. The forecast is looking okay for Bells and I just want to get out there and have some fun. It would be a sick one to win with the 50-year celebrations going down.