Mick Fanning Is Awarded Australia’s Highest Honour On Australia Day
For the good of the order.
Just call him Sir White Lightning. Honoured on Australia Day, Mick Fanning received an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia, which is akin to being knighted, he’s the new AO…not to be confused with the OA.
“Beyond honoured to be named an Officer of the order of Australia today along with some amazing people,” said Mick. “I love my country and its characters. Feeling so proud and happy right now…take a minute to remember how lucky we are to live in this amazing country and remember the traditional land owners.”
He received the Order of Australia honour for his “distinguished service to surfing,” (something that could only happen in Oz, and maybe Hawaii) as well as his work with charity groups.
“This is right up there with the world titles,’’ Fanning told The Daily Telegraph.
In 2015, Fanning was mobbed by a Great White in the final of the JBay Open, his marriage dissolved, his brother unexpectedly passed away, and he fell short of a fourth world title. Conceding to the stress, last year Mick spent the WSL season on sabbatical to rebuild himself. He made trips to Alaska, Norway and most recently Ireland. He also dedicated time to non-profit organisations.
“When I put a smile on people’s faces that makes me happy. I come home buzzing from it,” he said. “If you can take a kid with cancer surfing and then get a message from them a few months later telling you how it helped him get through his latest round of treatment—those are the things that make me realise just how lucky I am.”
Fanning has reportedly committed to the first three events of the 2017 WSL CT season. After that his plans for the rest of the year are unclear. Surf trips and philanthropy seemed to suit him pretty well in 2016. It wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if he and Mason Ho ended up an odd couple in an unexpected location, again.
As for his mental state more than a year after the now famous shark encounter?
“I just keep trying to live my life as I always would but I think about them when I’m in the water, I’m more conscious of my surroundings I guess,” said Mick. “I surfed Ballina the other day for the first time in over a year. I just made sure I was very, very conscious of my surroundings. There are nets there as well which is good.’’
Along with Fanning, Formula One driver Mark Webber was also appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia.
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