Who needs a sponsor when you can have a slice of the apple pie? Photo: Creatures of Leisure
Fanning Inc Grows Each And Every Week
Mick takes an equity stake in Creatures of Leisure.
Kelly Slater’s not the only world champ turning surf celebrity into financial opportunity. As his hopes dim on tying Mark Richards with four titles of his own, Mick Fanning’s stock is rising.
Just announced, Fanning has taken an equity stake in surf hard goods manufacturer Creatures of Leisure. A longtime sponsor of Fanning, the deal changes the nature of their relationship. Previously, Fanning was on contract with Creatures, but given the anaemic health of the surf industry, it’s fair to assume he was collecting a paltry salary. Now Fanning will be fully invested in the company and when it succeeds so does he.
“Creatures of Leisure and I have always had a fantastic relationship,” said Mick, “and this is obviously a huge vote of confidence in the company and the quality of their product. I see a lot of potential for growth, and can see us moving forward in a few new areas, too.”
As today’s top pros look to strengthen their earning power and extend the years they will be able to make money surfing, don’t be surprised if this is part of a growing trend. Taj Burrow and Craig Anderson have similar arrangements with Modom.
The industry is also starting to experience a bit of a shift as more surfer-owned brands are emerging (as opposed to some of the publicly traded giants that currently lord over surfing). The most obvious examples would be what Ando and Dane Reynolds are doing with Former and what Creed McTaggart and Noa Deane are doing with Rage. Dion Agius’s work with Epokhe is also another ownership structure that seems to be part of this growing trend. The basic idea is why take a paycheck for a grand or two a month when you can own the whole damn company (or at least a sizable chunk of it)?
As for Fanning, the Creatures deal is just the latest step in his pursuit of a business empire. He recently signed what appears to be a lucrative contract with Mercedes Benz (after jumping ship from Audi). He’s also a stake holder in the Balter brewing operation, along with Bebe Durbridge, Josh Kerr and Joel Parkinson. Fanning’s also just launched a line of soft-top surfboards that, truth be told, look like a hell of a lot of fun.
“When you start a business you’re always very wary about business and friendship can erupt sometimes,” Fanning told the Newcastle Herald. “We have other people in place to … steer the ship. We’re pretty much just cheerleaders with pom poms.”