Mick Fanning didn’t let a great white shark catch him, but he’s bowing out to Father Time. The three-time world champ has let it be known that he will be retiring after the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. This is a special spot for Fanning, who’s 2001 win off of the Victorian Coast led to him becoming a part of the world circuit in 2002.
Fanning’s career has included successes in 2007, 2009, and 2013, and six finishes in the Top Three. But he has not found the drive to take another crown after surviving a very difficult 2015.
The year started with the dissolution of his marriage to Karissa Dalton, and he then came face-to-face with a great white during the televised Jeffrey’s Bay Open finals in South Africa. He got knocked off his surfboard, but managed to punch the predator before it bit through his leash.
Hours before he entered the water for the third round of the Pipeline Masters to end the season, he was informed that his older brother, Peter, had passed away. Riding waves of devastation, he chose to bow out of the semifinals.
Adriano De Souza, the eventual Pipeline Masters champion, said at the time that Fanning was the strongest man he had ever met.
Fanning only competed in five events in 2016, and his 2017 season was the first one in more than ten years in which the Queenslander did not manage to get through to the final.
All things considered, it’s been an epic ride, and Fanning will be sorely missed.
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