The iconic career of Australian Surfing Legend Mick “Eugene” Fanning is drawing to a close, as the 3 times World Champion embarks on one final last mission at Bells Beach. Easter Weekend on the cliff at Bells is one of the best feelings there is for surf fans and this year the World Surf League have delivered with epic conditions and a perfectly timed swell to ensure the legend of Mick Fanning can rise again over Easter weekend! WATCH HERE
Mick is currently 7-1 to win the second stop on the WSL tour and the last of his career. BET HERE
Fanning received a wild card entry at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in 2001, winning one of Australia’s leading contests. He finished 2002 as Rookie of the Year, winning the Billabong Pro at Jeffrey’s Bay and earning himself a place on the 2002 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour as World Qualifying Series (WQS) Champion.
Fanning suffered a hamstring tear in 2004. It was surgically repaired and he made a comeback to become one of the leading surfers on the ASP world tour.
The year 2007 marked Fanning’s sixth year on the ASP World Tour since 2002 and his ninth year on the ASP WQS since 1998. He began his 2007 World Title campaign (WCT) with a victory at the Quiksilver Pro, the first event on the 2007 ASP World Tour, putting himself on top of the ratings. He won the Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil on 6 November 2007 placing above Taj Burrow and Kelly Slater therefore clinching the 2007 ASP world title In 2008 he suffered a mid-season groin injury. He slipped to eighth position on the end of year ratings. In 2009, Fanning reclaimed the ASP World Champion crown at the Pipeline reef break on Oahu’s North Shore. Although Fanning was eliminated by fellow Australian Dean Morrison in Round 4, his points lead from winning three of the last four events was enough to secure victory. In 2013 he had a victory in Round five, and made the quarter-finals at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.
On 3 December 2015, Fanning claimed his first World Qualification Series (WQS) victory in Hawaiian surf by winning the 2015 Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, Oahu.
According to an interview with WideWorld magazine, Fanning’s favourite surf spots in Australia include Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Bells Beach in Victoria and Gnarloo in Western Australia.
On 19 July 2015, Fanning encountered a shark two minutes into the J-Bay Open 2015 finals at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Fanning was in the water with Julian Wilson during the final when what is suspected to be a great white sharkswam next to him. Fanning punched the shark and tried to wedge his board between the shark and his body. The shark eventually bit off Fanning’s leash and Fanning started his attempt to flee back to shore. Wilson paddled towards Fanning to assist him and was praised for his action and hailed as a hero. Much of the early coverage characterized the encounter as a “shark attack.” Based on analysis of the video and the fact that Fanning was not bitten, some marine biologists believe the shark had no intention of biting him.
A response team quickly rescued him from any further danger by scaring the shark away with a boat and picking up both Fanning and Wilson, who was still in the water nearby. Both surfers escaped unharmed and were given a shared victory, splitting the prize-money. Following the ordeal, Wilson gave a tear-filled interview. When he was asked, “You guys are locked in a title battle right now, and to put things into perspective does that mean anything to you at this point in time?”, Wilson replied “No, not at all, I’m just happy he’s alive. The event was cancelled.
The next day, Fanning returned to Australia. He wondered why the shark did not bite him and told reporters: “I’m just lucky it wasn’t my time.” The story received international news coverage. Fanning returned to the water to surf again less than a week later, dedicating it to his late brother, and also surfed Ship Stern Bluff on 27 August, a break notorious for great white sharks. Fanning later competed in the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, which took place in August 2015 in Tahiti. Fanning would go on to take a victory at the Hurley Pro at Trestles Beach and finish the year 2nd in the ratings.