The last time we may ever see Mick hold a trophy high above his head. His triumphant post-shark J-Bay win in 2016.
"It's Time" - Mick Fanning Hangs Up The Jersey
Seventeen years, 3x World Titles, 22 event wins and one bruised shark.
Rumours have swirled, conversations lingered and now Mick has set a date for his retirement from competitive surfing
The young ‘White Lightning’, Mick Eugene Fanning, first made his mark on the World surfing stage as a young 19-year old from Currumbin when he stood atop the Bells podium and rung that bell as the Rip Curl wildcard in 2001.
Yet, this was only a warning sign.
The surfing world knew that the young Snapper Rocks local was truly hot on their heels when he took home Rookie of the Year honours the following year in 2002, after taking down fellow Aussie, Mick Lowe in the final at J-Bay. The kid meant business.
In 2004, Mick's surfing career almost vanished before his eyes when he tore his hamstring from the bone landing a floater in Indo, but Fanning made an unbelievable recovery and returned to the tour soon after; a place where he would spend the next 14 years and solidify himself amongst the true greats of surfing.
Mick took home his first ASP World Title in 2007 and backed it up for his sophomore victory in 2009 when the likes of Kelly Slater and Taj Burrow were at their peaks. Four years later, he strove even higher to place himself amongst the short list of individuals who have three or more titles pencilled against their name.
During his 17 year CT span, Mick took home 22 event wins; four of which were at Bells, four at J-Bay and a further five at Hossegor and has inspired a innumerable amount of grommets along the way.
And oh how could we forget, the moment our stomachs turned, as the fin of a Great White propped up behind Mick a mere two-minutes into the final at J-Bay in 2015. A battle which concreted Mick as a household name around the glove, not only as an Australian surfing World Champ, but as a shark punching hero.
Now the time has come for Mick to hang up his jersey, put the comp leash on ice and keep those Balter beers even cooler.
We’ll leave you with Mick’s heart-warming Instagram post from here – which may or may not have brought a tear to my eye.
“It’s time. I’ve decided the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be my last event as a full-time competitor on the World Surf League Championship Tour. The tour has given me so much but I need a fresh challenge.
“I still love the game but can’t find the motivation and dedication required to compete for World Titles anymore. My time on tour has been incredibly rewarding and I have so many amazing memories, all of which wouldn’t be possible without some very special people... My Mum, Dad, Sister and Brothers. I love you.
“My sponsors that have stood by me and continue to back my goals. My shaper Darren Handley and his entire team for the care and hard work they put into every single one of my boards. My fellow competitors on tour, you are like brothers and sisters to me. My very tight support crew that have been there in good and tough times, thank you for always being honest with me. And thanks to the fans and everyone that has encouraged me and cheered me on for all these years.
“I’m looking forward to life away from the tour while keeping a close eye on things. I’m so proud of our sport and the way it continues to evolve. The performance level on the Championship Tour and the Big Wave Tour is remarkable. I can’t wait to watch it all go down as one of the sport’s biggest fans. I’m also looking forward to evolving my own surfing in new ways, visiting unfamiliar places and taking on different experiences
“I will be competing at the opening event at home on the Gold Coast and then wrapping things up at the Rip Curl Pro. Bells Beach is where my Championship Tour career really kicked off, I’ve always loved the place and it seems a fitting stop to finish things up. It’s gonna be a big fun party and you’re all invited to come. Hope I see you there. Cheers and thanks for the memories.”
Stab wishes Mick all the best in his future endeavours and we just know we’ll be hot on his heels wherever he is or whatever craft he decides to plant his soles on.
It’s going to be an odd moment we set eyes to a drawcard without Fanning’s name on it or coming to terms with the fact he only has one shot left at taking the title of "most Bells Beach victories".
We're going to be running a full wrap of the Gold Coast kids career, stretching through his Title highs and personal lows in the coming days. In the mean time, here's a 17 years of shredding condensed into a 4-minute bundle.
We know who we’re barracking for come Snapper and Bells, so let’s hope to see Mick go out with a Bells’ trophy ding!