This just in: 3x world champ, noted shark wrangler, dance floor destroyer and world tour veteran Mick Fanning has announced he’ll be taking time off from the competitive circuit this year, surfing only in select events. Following fourteen straight years on tour, the most recent of which saw him involved in personal tragedy, a scrap with a great white and his fourth consecutive title race, the 34-year old Australian has decided it’s time for a break.
“Last year was definitely intense – what happened at J-Bay, being in a title race and the unfortunate passing of my brother,” Fanning told the WSL. “There was so much build up with everything happening. I got to a point at the end of the year where I felt empty. I didn’t feel like I had much to give back.”
“This year, I’m going to take some time off and have a bit of a personal year,” Fanning continued. “Just to regroup and re-stoke the fire. At this stage, I’m going to compete at Snapper and I’m going to compete at Bells and then I’m going to take some time off from there. They (Snapper and Bells) are two events that I love and I’d go crazy if I were sitting at home and couldn’t go surf Snapper. Bells is like a second home as well. From then on, I feel like I have to take some time away from the tour to get out of that sort of zone to see where my head is at.”
“I feel like there’s something there that I want to go and face. I want to make sure that I scratch that off the list. I think the main thing will be that first surf. I probably won’t be getting up at dark and getting out there before the sun gets up anymore. I think it’s more about jumping in and surfing once or twice and then I’ll be fine. It’s the same thing as when I came back and surfed Snapper for the first time. You’re a little bit wary and it’s in the back of your mind, but you get to a point where you start to feel comfortable again. If I go and do that event, there are going to be a lot of eyes on me. A lot of people will be seeing what reaction I’ll have. I don’t think I’ll be paddling out early for heats, but I think after a surf or two, I’ll feel fine.”
We assume not. The plan is to compete in enough events to re-qualify for 2017, leaving the injury wildcard spots available for others who may need them. “This is definitely not a retirement announcement,” he said. “I don’t want to turn my back on the tour. It’s given me so much over the years — it’s given me everything that I have today.”
Wanna see Mick destroy the dance floor? Of course you do!