SE: So we’re in South Africa, you’re number one in the world and about to defend your J-Bay title. Everything seems to be on track for you so far? MF: Yeah mate, all is going good, this is where everything came together for me last year. This year I’ve been fortunate enough to have such a good start, so I just hope it keeps going this year.

Your best mate is with you now. Your mum was at the last event in Chile, how important is it having your close people in your camp? It’s really important to make sure everywhere you go, you feel comfortable. All that has to be in place. If you don’t feel comfortable and you’re not enjoying yourself, that’s when shit starts to go wrong.

Not many people would know this, but you’ve been doing a lot for a local woman here in J-Bay named Primrose, tell us about that. Um, yeah we first met her three years ago now. She was pregnant at the time and she was our maid in one of the houses. She just became a really good friend. She had a bit of a struggle (she had AIDS, lost her baby and suffered many health complications associated with the disease) and we helped out with some money and she is doing really good now. She still looks after us when we are here, it’s great. (Mick has given her thousands of dollars to pay for operations, education and health care over the last few years.)

You’re getting married next year, how did meeting Karissa change your life? In a nutshell, she stopped me partying so much (laughs).

There’s been a lot of talk about how you went early to Teahupoo this year to put in some more time. That paid off. Last year, you also pinpointed France as an event where you needed improvement. What did you do about that and how are you feeling coming into the European leg? Last year I did the Rip Curl Super Series event just to get more comfortable over there in France because I’d never really had a big result there. Like Teahupoo, I had to make it a winner because I was winning events, but not consistently – and not everywhere. I made a few heats in the Super Series and just started to figure the place out a bit more. I left some boards there that I liked so when I went back, it wasn’t new, I felt more at home, I know what to order now at dinner. It’s just one of those things, you’ve just got to get comfortable and that means everything: spending.