Surfing Tips with Mick Fanning



Mick Fanning


1. Become a strong swimmer. It might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how much surfers have come to depend on their leg-ropes. Swimming in the surf is probably the next best exercise for surfing.

2. Always watch and assess the conditions before you paddle out. Take the time to sit and observe the waves; try and learn to recognise rips and currents.

For everything you need to know about rips, take a look at this article by Dr Rip

3. Try and find surf partners who surf better than you and are happy to pass on some tips and advice, or find a surf coach or surf school suitable to your ability.

4. When you’re first starting off, the most important thing is getting a board that’s really stable - wide, long and thick. Those soft beginner boards are good because they can’t hurt you.

5. When you first catch a wave, don’t be in a rush to get to your feet. Just enjoy the sensation of gliding along with the wave and get used to staying balanced over the board.


1. The bottom turn sets up everything else you want to do on a wave. As a general rule, the better your bottom turn, the better your top turn will be.

2. The best way to learnt to do a proper bottom turn is to ride a bigger board when you’re young. Try riding a board that’s two to six inches longer than your normal shortboard.

3. Understanding your surfboard is the most important thing any surfer can do. When I was young, I was always asking my shaper Darren Handley about why board do this and that ... Over time, I developed a good understanding of how a surfboard works.

4. I enjoy riding lots of different boards. It keeps things fresh and exciting. I recommend jumping on a single fin or a twin fin every now and gain. Ride it for a few days, then when you jump back on your regular shortboard you will have a new respect for how surfboards have evolved.

5. When you start performing the basic manoeuvres, there is one key thing to remember: Where you look is where you go. Always focus on the part of the wave you want to get to next.


1. Watch good surfers. I really like watching the surfers I most admire, and try to figure out how they pull off manoeuvres that are a cut above the rest. When I was a kid, I used to watch surf videos day and night, especially before a surf session.

2. Learning the feeling of a manoeuvre is important. When trying something new, go out and do it how you think it should be executed, with a clear vision of it in your mind. If you fall off, don’t worry. Paddle back out and try again.

3. Tube riding is definitely one of the ultimate experiences in surfing. As a kid, I used to get in these situations and just freak out and jump off. But if you can just hold your line and stay over your board, it’s amazing how often you can make it back out.

4. One of the biggest things in training for surfing is working on your core. Your core is the centre of your body, and that’s what is going to hold everything together.

5. In the lead up to events, I like to go out and have 30 minute surfs. This is the length of time we usually have in heats. I find after a few of these surfs I start to feel like my competition heats are just free surf and I feel switched on from the very first minute.

Note: The advice given here is of a general nature only, and surfers should seek their own guidance appropriate to their abilities and local conditions where ever they choose to surf.

These tips are taken from “Surf For Your Life: Grommets’ Edition”, by Mick Fanning and Tim Baker available from Random House, RRP: $19.95.