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February 5, 2023

I’ve lost the drive to compete: surf champ Fanning quits

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Fanning at the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay, doing his customary pre-heat prep. WSL/Steve Sherman

Australia and Tweed’s surfing hero, three-time world champion Mick Fanning has announced his retirement from the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), saying he’s lost the will to compete at the highest level.

Fanning will surf the first two events of this 2018 season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, and will retire from competitive surfing after his final heat in the famous Bells Bowl.

‘I feel like I’ve just lost the drive to compete day-in day-out now,’ Fanning said after his announcement on Wednesday.

‘It’s been something I’ve been doing for 17 years, and even before that through QS and Juniors, and I feel that I just 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’s other paths for me to take at this stage in my life.

‘As for choosing to retire at Bells, I’ve always had in mind that my last event on Tour was going to be Bells. That’s basically where I started my career, it was my first ever CT win, and I feel really connected down there.’

Mick first joined the CT in 2002, after winning his first CT event as a wildcard entry at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. It was a win that pushed him up into the elite levels of surfing, and that put his name on the map as a man who was going to make history.

In 2003, his first year on Tour, he won at Jeffreys Bay — a wave that went on to become one of his pet events — as well as one of the most pivotal moments in his career, and life, when he was attacked by a shark during the Final heat of the event in 2015.


Fanning will finish his 17-year run on the CT at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

In 2004, after two years of being on the world Tour, Mick sustained a career-threatening injury while su

But rather than give up, Mick took this injury and used it as motivation to come back even stronger.

He was back competing on the Tour by 2005, and just three years later won his first World Title.

Over the course of his career Mick has been through more than most of us could imagine.

He’s seen both personal triumph and personal tragedy under the scrutiny of the public eye, worked through injuries that would have ended others’ careers, and punched a shark on live television, coming out completely physically unscathed. – Report courtesy of WSL (www.worldsurfleague.com)



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  1. Good on you Mick Fannning, I don’t know you I’ve alwas admired you, your achievements & surfing prowess
    I sooooo don’t blame you. Early retirement is where it’s at for us all, just cos the Govt got it wrong, arse about, desiring people to work until one foot in the grave, doesn’t mean to listen!

    I’ve wondered how people pretend the ocean is toxic free! Japan, from Fukushima, continues to spill irradiated water at some 350000L a day into our worlds oceans ? & non stop since 11/3/2011!!!! That can’t be health in a supposed healthy sport!?!
    Now you folks surfing in that can’t possibly be free of toxins!! I’d hate to have to work in that polluted arena!! I’d get out fast!


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