mick fanning
Mick Fanning of Australia, who survived a shark attack, reacts during a media conference in Sydney, Australia July 21, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Mick Fanning, a three-time world champion surfer, camped out on a beach in Lofoten, Norway to surf under the Northern Lights. Local photographers Emil Sollie and Mats Grimsaeth joined him as they waited for the right elements to align.

Fanning said that they set out a 10-day waiting period and waited for conditions to come together. He said that the elements they considered included clear skies and the right wave. He also said that on top of all the elements, they waited for the lights to come on.

During the first two nights, the light came but the waves refused to cooperate. But on the third day, everything fell into place. Fanning was able to surf with surprisingly good waves. He said that he just had to ride the waves allowing him to experience easy surfing. He also said that there were four to six minutes between sets of waves. During this time, he just stared and screamed with excitement.

"Everyone was on a high," Fanning told the ABC.

In his professional career, Fanning took an indefinite leave from professional surfing and confirmed that he would only compete selectively. He faced several tumultuous events in 2015 including the shark attack while competing at Jefferys Bay. In the same year, he learned that his brother died on the eve of a world title showdown in Hawaii.

In Feb. 2016, Fanning announced that he separated from his wife Karissa Dalton. The couple ended their five-year marriage but confirmed that they were still close and a lot of love remains.

The professional surfer said that he was able to deal with the sustained media interest. However, he also welcomed periods of getting away from the limelight and unplugging from it all.

"Sometimes you just want to disappear and fall off the face of the Earth, but I think everyone does that," Fanning said.

It was still unclear if Fanning will retire soon as he sent out mixed signals about his future in surfing.