Mick's had some moments out here. WSL/Scholtz
Did Mick Fanning Just Surf His Last Pipe Masters Heat?
Mick told me, "Aw, this is the last time I’ll ever surf out here.” - Conner Coffin
Mick Fanning ended Bede Durbidge's professional surfing career at Backdoor this morning. He felt guilty about it, but not that guilty. Maybe because it was less about ending Bede's career and more about subtly improving his. Mick has never won a Pipe Masters, and it's something he undoubtedly covets, so if this were his final year on Tour, you could imagine how bad he'd want to win today's event.
But then Mick lost to Conner Coffin. He was leading the entire Round 3 heat, but Conner scored a proper Backdoor keg and stole the win in the dying minutes. Mick's dreams of a 2017 Pipe Masters victory were officially squashed.
In the post-heat presser, Mick was asked about his plans for next year. Would he commit to the 2018 Tour, or was this the day that Mick Fanning would officially retire?
“I don't really know yet," Mick told Kaipo. "I’m just going to go home and look in the mirror. I’ll have an answer before the Quiky Pro.”
I'm inclined to believe Mick. I think he's genuinely unsure about whether or not he wants to compete next year, and he needs some time to figure it out. Alternatively, Joe Turpel posited that Mick might be playing coy as to not steal the spotlight from his definitely-retiring friends Bede and Josh. That also seems like a very Mick thing to do. By all accounts he seems like a great dude.
However we do have one reason to believe that Mick will retire this year, that being Conner Coffin's post-heat interview.
"I don’t think I’ve surfed against [Mick] man-on-on man this year," Conner explained, "so I was really stoked to have that opportunity today. But he made me feel bad like, 'Aw, this is the last time I’ll ever surf out here.' And I was like 'Don’t make me feel bad about that!' Because at the same time, if I didn’t make that heat I might not have ever surfed out here again either, so it meant a lot to me and probably not as much to him. But congrats to Mick on such an amazing career, and for being a really good role model for kids like me growing up."
So has Mick been more forthright with his friends than he has with the media, or is he truly of two minds? Speculations will abound, but something tells me we won't know for sure until before the Quiky Pro.
We wish him happy soul-searching!