Mick Fanning

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Mick Fanning

Michael Eugene Fanning

(1981-06-13) 13 June 1981 (age 42)
Personal information
NicknameWhite Lightning
ResidenceGold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Surfing career
Years active2002–2018
Best yearASP World Champion – 2007, 2009, 2013
Career earnings$2,796,120
SponsorsRip Curl, Reef Footwear, Creatures of Leisure Accessories, Dragon Eyewear, Red Bull Zen Nutrition, Skullcandy, Audi, FCS traction and fins
Major achievements
Surfing specifications
StanceNatural (regular foot)
Shaper(s)Darren Handley and Wade Tokoro
Quiver5'11" x 18 5/8" x 2 1/4"
Favourite wavesAny pointbreak
Favourite maneuversHacks and tubes

Michael Eugene Fanning AO (born 13 June 1981) is an Australian professional surfer who was crowned champion of the Association of Surfing Professionals/World Surf League (ASP/WSL)'s World Tour in 2007, 2009 and 2013. In 2015, he survived a shark attack by what is suspected to be a great white shark during the J-Bay Open finals in Jeffreys Bay.

Early years[edit]

Fanning was born on 13 June 1981 in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia,[1][2] to Irish parents.[3] He learned to surf from the age of three at Brown Bay near Mount Gambier, but did not focus on surfing until his family moved to Tweed Heads, New South Wales, when he was twelve. He grew up with fellow professional surfer, Joel Parkinson, in the Gold Coast/Northern Rivers region and attended Palm Beach Currumbin State High School together. On the Queensland border, Fanning had access to surf north and south and he began to make a name for himself. In 1996 he established himself as one of the best surfers on the Queensland points by placing in the top three at the Australian National Titles. In 1998, his brother Sean died in a car accident along with fellow surfer Joel Green.[4]

Professional career[edit]

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.[4]

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 thereby clinching the 2007 ASP world title.[2] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Shark attack[edit]

On 19 July 2015, Fanning was attacked by 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 was suspected to be a great white shark swam next to him and became entangled in his surfboard leash. Fanning punched the shark and tried to wedge his board between the shark and his body.[7] The shark eventually bit off Fanning's leash and Fanning started his attempt to flee back to shore.[7] Wilson paddled towards Fanning to assist him and was praised for his action and hailed as a hero.[8] 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.[9] However, as there was physical contact between the shark and his board and the shark cut the leash, the International Shark Attack File has classified the encounter as a shark attack.[10]

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."[11] The event was cancelled.[12]

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."[7] The story received international news coverage.[7] 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,[13] 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 second in the ratings.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Fanning was married for eight years to entrepreneur Karissa Dalton.[15] On 31 January 2016, he announced that they were divorcing.[16]

Fanning was co-owner of Balter Brewing Company with Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge until its sale to Carlton & United Breweries in 2019.[17][18] In 2019, Fanning invested in Australian dog food company Scratch.[19] Fanning is a supporter of the National Rugby League club Penrith Panthers.[20][21]


In 2017 Fanning was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to surfing as a professional competitor at the national and international level, and as a supporter of a range of charitable foundations.[22]

Career victories[edit]

WSL World Tour wins
Year Event Venue Country
2016 J-Bay Open Jeffreys Bay  South Africa
2015 Hurley Pro at Trestles Trestles  United States
2015 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Bells Beach  Australia
2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Supertubos  Portugal
2014 J-Bay Open Jeffreys Bay  South Africa
2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Bells Beach  Australia
2013 Quiksilver Pro France Hossegor  France
2012 Billabong Pro Teahupoo Teahupoo, Tahiti  French Polynesia
2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Bells Beach  Australia
2010 Quiksilver Pro France Hossegor  France
2009 Hurley Pro at Trestles[23] Trestles  United States
2009 Rip Curl Pro Search[24] Peniche  Portugal
2009 Quiksilver Pro France[23] Hossegor  France
2007 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Gold Coast  Australia
2007 Quiksilver Pro France Hossegor  France
2007 Hang Loose Pro Santa Catarina  Brazil
2006 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Jeffreys Bay  South Africa
2006 Nova Schin Festival Imbituba  Brazil
2005 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Gold Coast  Australia
2005 Rip Curl Pro Search Saint Leu, Reunion Island  France
2002 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Jeffreys Bay  South Africa
2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Bells Beach  Australia
  • Non-ASP World Tour victories:
    • 3 ASP WQS


  1. ^ "World Surf League". 2015. Archived from the original on 28 November 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Red Bull Surfing". Surf magazine. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Interview with Mick Fanning". Tonnta: The Irish Surf Magazine (28). 2008.
  4. ^ a b Fanning, Mick; Naker, Tim (2009). Surf For Your Life. Random House Australia. ISBN 978-1-74166-927-5.
  5. ^ Wardrop, Murray (13 December 2009). "Mick Fanning crowned ASP World Champion in perfect surf at Pipeline". The Daily Telegraph. London. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. ^ "World Surf League". worldsurfleague.com. World Surf League. 3 December 2015. Archived from the original on 17 May 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "Mick Fanning speaks of 'miracle' survival after arriving back in Sydney following shark attack". ABC. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  8. ^ Ting, Inga (20 July 2015). "Surfer Julian Wilson hailed as hero after shark attacks Mick Fanning". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (22 July 2015). "That viral shark attack video is everything we get wrong about sharks". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  10. ^ Pruett, Matt. "DECONSTRUCTION OF A SHARK ATTACK". Surfline. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  11. ^ Hoffman, Bill; Moffat, Nicky (20 July 2015). "He 'never paddled so fast in his life' says Wilson's mum". Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  12. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella; Cotovio, Vasco (19 June 2015). "Competition canceled after surfer Mick Fanning escapes shark attack". CNN. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Mick Fanning tackles a new type of monster at Shipstern Bluff". 9 News. 27 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Mick Fanning's surfboard shaper says the shark attack won't keep him out of the water". Perth Now. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ MacDonald, Andrew (17 March 2008). "Media wiped out as world champ weds". The Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  16. ^ "Surfer Mick Fanning permanently splits from wife Karissa Dalton - ABC News". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. February 2016.
  17. ^ Dalton, Trent (30 April 2016). "Balter brewery: Mick Fanning and his mates making beer". The Weekend Australian. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Balter announces sale to CUB". BrewsNews. 4 December 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Mick Fanning Invests". Scratch. Scratch. 2 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020. The health of dogs is just as important as my health, but it hadn't been easy to find a business who made decisions that way
  20. ^ A Childhood In Sydneys West Helped Shape Australias Triple World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning The Courier Mail[dead link]
  21. ^ Mick Fanning Called In To Fire Up Panthers The Daily Telegraph[dead link]
  22. ^ "Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Australia Day 2017 Honours List. Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 November 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Fanning wins ASP surf tourney in France". United Press International. 27 September 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  24. ^ "Fanning Wins Rip Curl Pro Search". CNN Sports Illustrated. TransWorld Surfing. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2010.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Association of Surfing Professionals World Champion (men's)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Association of Surfing Professionals World Champion (men's)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Association of Surfing Professionals World Champion (men's)
Succeeded by