Heading into his 17th year on the World Championship Tour, Mick Fanning has announced his intention to retire after the first two events of the upcoming 2018 season. The 36-year-old veteran will close out his distinguished career, wherein he claimed three world titles as well as 22 individual events, at Bells Beach. Fittingly, Bells was the first place where he took his inaugural Champions Tour event title coming in as a wildcard in 2001. From here Mick went on to win three world titles in 2007, 2009 and most recently 2013.
Micks latest Instagram post explains it all:
I’ve decided the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be my last event as a full-time competitor on the World Surf League Championship Tour. The tour has given me so much but I need a fresh challenge. I still love the game but can’t find the motivation and dedication required to compete for World Titles anymore. My time on tour has been incredibly rewarding and I have so many amazing memories, all of which wouldn’t be possible without some very special people.
My Mum, Dad, Sister and Brothers. I love you. The sponsors that have stood by me and continue to back my goals. My shaper Darren Handley and his entire team for the care and hard work they put into every single one of my boards. My fellow competitors on tour, you are like brothers and sisters to me. My very tight support crew that have been there in good and tough times, thank you for always being honest with me. And thanks to the fans and everyone that has encouraged me and cheered me on for all these years.
I’m looking forward to life away from the tour while keeping a close eye on things. I’m so proud of our sport and the way it continues to evolve. The performance level on the Championship Tour and the Big Wave Tour is remarkable. I can’t wait to watch it all go down as one of the sport’s biggest fans. I’m also looking forward to evolving my own surfing in new ways, visiting unfamiliar places and taking on different experiences.
Cheers and thanks for the memories.
If you’re South African this is great news as Michael February comes in as the first replacement for the WSL Championship Tour this year.The first replacement is basically a “runner-up wildcard” by virtue of his 11th place on the Qualifying Series. Should any surfer in the top 34 be unable to surf any CT event for any reason, February is the first person to be invited, with an exception to certain T’s and C’s relating to wildcard entries. If someone drops out of the whole tour, in this case, Mick Fanning, then MFeb moves in putting him right up there. The ideal situation would see MFeb grab a wildcard entry for the first two events enabling him to surf a full year on the Championship Tour. With Snappers drawing ever closer and Julian Wilson still nursing a shoulder injury MFeb could have already locked down that first wildcard. So far, 2018 is turning out to be a great year for South African Surfing.