SURFING great Mick Fanning is putting his competition board back in the rack, announcing this year’s Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach will be his last event as a full-time competitor in the World Surf League (WSL) Championship tour.
Fanning broke the news with a post on his Facebook page last week.
“Bells Beach is where my Championship Tour career really kicked off, I’ve always loved the place and it seems a fitting stop to finish things up,” he wrote.
“It’s gonna be a big fun party and you’re all invited to come.”
Fanning earned his place in Bells Beach folklore by getting a wildcard entry as a rookie to the 2001 Rip Curl Pro and outsurfing everyone to win the event.
He has won at Bells three times since (2012, 2014 and 2015) and is a three-time World Title winner (2007, 2009 and 2013).
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
Fanning thanked his family, sponsors, shaper Darren Handley, fellow WSL competitors, support crew and fans.