Mick Fanning's career highlights
Three-time surfing world champion Mick Fanning has just announced his retirement from the WSL Championship Tour. He'll surf the first two events of the 2018 season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, before retiring from competitive surfing after his final heat in the famous Bells Bowl.
“I feel like I’ve lost the drive to compete day in, day out now,” says Mick. “It’s something I’ve been doing for 17 years, and even before that through the Qualifying Series and Juniors, and I feel that I can’t give it 100 percent anymore. I’m just not enjoying it as much as I was in the past. I still love surfing and I’m still super-excited by it, but I feel that’s there are other paths for me to take at this stage in my life.
“As for choosing to retire at Bells, I’ve always had it in mind that my last event on Tour was going to be there. That’s basically where I started my career, it was where I got my first ever CT win, and I feel really connected down there.”
Mick won his first ever Championship Tour event as a wildcard, at the 2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. The win thrust Mick into the limelight on surfing's biggest stage, and suggested he may well go on to create history. The suggestions were right.
In 2002, Mick's rookie year on tour, he won at Jeffrey’s Bay, a wave that would go on to become one of his favourite contests, as well as providing one of the most pivotal moments of his life. As we all know too well, Fanning was attacked by a shark during the 2015 J-Bay final in a terrifying moment seen live around the world.
In 2004, just two years into his CT career, Fanning sustained a serious injury while surfing in Indonesia's Mentawai Islands. Landing awkwardly after a floater, Fanning tore his hamstring off the bone, an accident as painful as it was career-threatening. Rather than accept his fate Mick used the crippling blow as motivation to come back stronger than ever. He was competing on the Championship Tour again by 2005, famously winning his first event back at home on the Gold Coast, and he kept the roll going all the way to his first World Title two years later.
Over the course of his career Mick has been through more than most of us could imagine. He has seen both personal triumph and personal strife under the scrutiny of the public eye, worked through injuries that would have ended other athletes' careers, and punched a shark on live television and come out physically unscathed.
Along the way Fanning has won three World Titles, 22 Championship Tour events (with two more chances still to come!), and competed in 16 seasons on the Championship Tour, cementing himself a name as one of the greatest surfers and sportsmen in history.
“After so many years on tour, it’s been so fun,” says Mick. “It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, you have your peaks and valleys, but when I look back on my time on tour it’s all amazing memories – from building myself up to compete, to heat wins and event wins, celebrating with friends and just seeing places I never thought I’d even get to.”
Congratulations Mick, we couldn’t be prouder of you and everything that you’ve achieved, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.