Mick Fanning, world champ, bartender
Four days ago, Mick Fanning made it known that his 2016 would be a “personal year” in which he would only compete at select events. “This is definitely not a retirement announcement,” assured Mick. “I don’t want to turn my back on the tour, (but) I’ve been in a title race for the last four years in a row (and on tour for 14). It takes a big toll on your mind and your body.” It was unsurprising, given the year he’s had, which included a shark encounter during the final of the J-Bay Open, the death of his brother Peter in December (on the eve of his World Title showdown), and the separation from wife Karissa earlier this month.
While speculation’s been sizzling on where Mick will show up, we have discovered one of the ways he’ll be spending his time between: Pouring beers at his new brewery in Currumbin.
Balter Brewery was announced midway through last year, a joint between Mick, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr. At the time, Mick told the Gold Coast Bulletin: “Surfing doesn’t last forever and for me, marketing and business is something I’m passionate about. We’ve all been hands-on, getting involved in the branding, marketing and business set-up."
And hands-on isn’t metaphorical. According to a short Channel 9 feature (which you should definitely watch), the team will actually be doing time on the taps this year. It won’t be Brian Flanagan, but it will be honest. “We’ve all got our RSA’s and we’re gonna be behind the bar,” said Mick. “We’ll talk stories and float in and out, it’ll be fun.”
Bede, who is responsible for the whole idea in the first place, now needs success through Balter more than anyone. You’ll remember when he tore apart his pelvis at the Pipe Masters last year. That isn’t the kinda thing you bounce back from quickly. While Bede and camp are remaining ever-positive, there’s a very real potential that this could be a career-ending injury. Based on Balter’s greatest asset in award-winning brewer, Scott Hargrave – among other things – Balter is sure to connect. It won’t be competing with XXXX, but hey, get 0.5% of their marketshare and you’re doing well.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have surfing as a job for the last 15 years and if I’m involved in making beer for the next 15, I’ll be pretty happy,” says Joel.
The brewery, which is officially open in April, looks amazing. And a few local bars will be stocking Balter from as early as next month.
Eight hours labour, eight hours leisure, eight hours rest. Combining the first two is the key to it all.