Mick Fanning had a change in scenery in 2016, ditching the professional circuit to dodge icebergs as he surfed isolated waves in a half-frozen lake at a secret location.

The three-time world champ looked totally in his element as he waited in sub-zero temperatures for chunks of glacier to fall into the water and create icy swells.

'I got emotional a few times actually, just standing there taking in the surroundings,' Fanning said of the breathtaking trip, which was sponsored by Rip Curl.

After a horror year in 2015 - which saw a very public split from his wife of seven years, the death of his brother and a great white shark attack - Fanning announced he would be taking time off professional surfing to spend some time soul searching.


'For me this trip came at the perfect time, it was totally different to anything else I've ever done,' Fanning said.

'When I walked off the beach of Bells it felt amazing - just to know I didn't have to go and be somewhere at a certain time.'

While the rest of the circuit went chasing waves in Western Australia, Fanning hopped on a plane and found himself aboard a steel boat 'somewhere near the Arctic Circle.'

Footage from Rip Curl's 'The Search' series shows Fanning surfing to the backdrop of snowy mountains, sheer cliffs of ice, frozen water and jagged rocky shores.

Fanning said it was special to be able to enjoy nature and get back to the roots of surfing without the watchful eye of the public or the pressures of competition.

MF hunting ice barrels on #TheSearch | Pic: @corey_wilson

A post shared by Rip Curl | Australia (@ripcurl_aus) on

'The mountains ... the sheer cliffs and snow on top of that - all that stuff just makes you appreciate how beautiful the surf is,' he said.

'I was just so in awe of the earth it was incredible, mother nature really put on a show.'

Surf photographer Corey Wilson, who joined Fanning and fellow pro surfer Mason Ho on the trip, said the idea came about after an innocent conversation.

'It all started from a conversation with Fanning about how fun it would be to go dog sledding somewhere in the world,' Wilson wrote on his Instagram account.

'Somewhere that was freezing cold and near an ocean where we could find new waves. A little bit of research and a phone call later we were able to make it happen.'