The moments that made Fanning the greatest

FROM his suprise win at Bells Beach in 2001 to his phenomenal return to Jeffreys Bay following a shark attack, these are the moments that defined Mick Fanning's career.

ANGEL ON HIS SHOULDER (1998):

Surfer Mick Fanning with his brother Sean (R) who died in a car crash in 1998.
Surfer Mick Fanning with his brother Sean (R) who died in a car crash in 1998.

ON a Friday night in Coffs Harbour in 1998 Fanning lost his older brother Sean in a car accident.

"Just that whole sort of numbing feeling came over (me). It was the hardest day of my life," Fanning said in the film Defining Mick Fanning in 2013.

"I just sat in my room and I really didn't know what was going to happen next.

"I vowed I was never going to drive, I didn't know if I was ever going to surf again and I didn't want to walk outside or even talk to people.

"I just did not want to face people."

 

FIRST WIN (2001):

MICK Fanning won his first world tour event as a 19-year-old wildcard to the 2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

With first place winning $59,900, it was the richest prize in Australian surfing history.

He was the only the second wildcard ever to win a surfing World Championship Tour event.

Coincidentally, the first wildcard to win a WCT was Fanning's close friend Joel Parkinson when he won the 1999 J-Bay Pro.

Surfer Mick Fanning in action during Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria in 2002
Surfer Mick Fanning in action during Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria in 2002

 

QUALIFICATION (2002):

FANNING qualified for the world tour aged 22 where he finished fifth in the world and earned the Rookie of the Year award.

HAMSTRUNG (2004):

IN 2004, doctors told him he might not surf competitively again after ripping his hamstring off the bone surfing in Sumatra, Indonesia.

"I was pretty immobile for three months," Fanning said.

"For the first six weeks I wasn't allowed to do anything as I was on crutches. I couldn't drive for about six weeks, or sit properly. I had to sit on an angle so the joint could mend.

"It's a really rare injury. The doctors said if I didn't have surgery, I may never run again which means I would never surf again.''

Australia's Mick Fanning celebrates after winning the Foster's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world title in Imbituba, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007.
Australia's Mick Fanning celebrates after winning the Foster's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world title in Imbituba, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007.

THE WIN IN BRAZIL (2007):

WHEN Fanning won his first crown in Brazil in 2007 his first thoughts were of his late brother, Sean.

Fanning, then 26, said he felt the presence of his brother riding with him at Imbituba in Brazil, in the form of a dolphin.

"It was so cool with Joel (Parkinson) out there in the semi-final and there was a dolphin out there, I'm not sure if it was my brother or what," Fanning said after the win.

 

JOINING SPECIAL CLUB (2009):

Fanning beat Joel Parkinson in the world title race to join an exclusive club in 2009 by becoming the fourth Australian man since the tour started in 1976 to win multiple titles.

He drew equal with greats Tom Carroll (1983, 1984) and Damien Hardman (1987, 1991) and behind only legendary four-time Australian world champion Mark Richards (1979-1982).

After the win he paid tribute to his wife at the time, Karissa, for inspiring him to win his second world title in three years.

Fanning gave a rare glimpse inside his personal life in a heartfelt speech thanking his then-wife of 21 months for her support.

 

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM (2013):

Fanning won his third world title just 90 seconds from the finish the quarter-final he needed to win in Hawaii in 2013.

"I just saw the set on the horizon, and I thought 'all right, whatever's going to come, I'm just going to try and pick the right one," he said.

"You dream about these sorts of things as I kid but you never really expect them to happen like this. That wave came and it was so beautiful.''

At home on the Gold Coast, his bothers Ed and Peter were watching with at the Dolphin Hotel in Tweed Heads.

"He has worked so hard for this and deserves every second of it," Ed said at the time.

"I love the guy and I just hope he keeps on winning."

 

In this screen grab from footage by the World Surf League, Mick Fanning of Australia is attacked by a Shark at the Jbay Open on July 19, 2015 in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Photo by WSL/WSL via Getty Images
In this screen grab from footage by the World Surf League, Mick Fanning of Australia is attacked by a Shark at the Jbay Open on July 19, 2015 in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Photo by WSL/WSL via Getty Images

THE NOAH'S ARC (2015):

BEING attacked by a great white shark on live television in the final of the 2015 J-Bay Pro propelled Fanning on to the world stage like never before.

An interview rarely goes by without Mick getting asked the question.

"He gave you a pretty good shove?" Occhilupo asked Fanning during a podcast in 2016.

To which Fanning replied: "Oh yeah s*** yeah."

 

LOVE THEM AND GIVE THEM A HUG (2015):

Funeral service for Peter Fanning, the older brother of three time world surfing champion Mick Fanning. Picture: Jerad Williams,
Funeral service for Peter Fanning, the older brother of three time world surfing champion Mick Fanning. Picture: Jerad Williams,

FANNING learned of his brother Peter's death just hours before he paddled out to compete for his fourth world surfing title in December 2015.

He heroically chose to compete in the even despite the devastating news. He finished second in the world after being knocked out of the event by Gabriel Medina following emotionally charged heats.

"I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that's what Pete would want," Fanning said in an instagram post.

"Tell the special people in your life you love them and give them a hug."

 

RIGHTING A WRONG (2016):

FANNING made a phenomenal return to Jeffreys Bay one year after his close call with the great white shark to win the World Surf League event in 2016.

"It was an emotional build up coming into this," Fanning said.

"Having my semi final with Julian (Wilson) was a really special moment. I'm just stoked that I came back and was able to right the wrong for last year. That was always my plan."



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