Last December, it was rumored that Mick Fanning would retire from competitive surfing if he won the 2015 World Title at Pipeline. He didn’t.
Instead, tragedy crept its way into Mick’s life. His older brother passed away right before the summation of the event, which left Mick trying to surf his way to the podium while dragging the weight of a broken heart. He was succeeding at that, until the final day of the competition when the swell dropped and he was taken out of the event by Gabriel Medina. By an air reverse. At 3-4 foot, windy Pipeline. Not exactly the ideal heat for a 3x World Champ to hang up the singlet.
The plot was foiled but the question remained: Will Mick retire?
As per a WSL press release, the answer is no. Or at least not really.
"This year, I'm going to take some time off and have a bit of a personal year," Fanning said. "Just to regroup and re-stoke the fire. At this stage, I'm going to compete at Snapper and I'm going to compete at Bells and then I'm going to take some time off from there. They (Snapper and Bells) are two events that I love and I'd go crazy if I were sitting at home and couldn't go surf Snapper. Bells is like a second home as well. From then on, I feel like I have to take some time away from the tour to get out of that sort of zone to see where my head is at."
Fair enough champ. Take your time, though we’ll be missing you dearly. Especially at a wave like J-Bay. Or wait…
"I want to go back to J-Bay," Fanning said. "I feel like there's something there that I want to go and face. I want to make sure that I scratch that off the list. I think the main thing will be that first surf. I probably won't be getting up at dark and getting out there before the sun gets up anymore. I think it's more about jumping in and surfing once or twice and then I'll be fine. It's the same thing as when I came back and surfed Snapper for the first time. You're a little bit wary and it's in the back of your mind, but you get to a point where you start to feel comfortable again. If I go and do that event, there are going to be a lot of eyes on me. A lot of people will be seeing what reaction I'll have. I don't think I'll be paddling out early for heats, but I think after a surf or two, I'll feel fine."
We think so too. Thanks for all the surfing, Mick. We look forward to your next chapter.