Michael Eugene Fanning AO (born 13 June 1981). Mick Fanning was crowned world surfing champion in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
Fanning was born on 13 June 1981 in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. His parents separated when he was a kid. His brothers surfed and he followed them into the water. 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. Tragedy struck in 1998 when his brother Sean died in a car accident along with fellow surfer Joel Green. Fanning received a wild card entry at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in 2001, winning one of Australia’s leading contests. He graduated to the Championship Tour in 2002 and won Rookie of the Year, taking out the Billabong Pro at Jeffrey’s Bay. 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 championship tour.
2007 marked Fanning’s sixth year on the ASP World Tour since 2002. 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.
In 2009, Fanning reclaimed the World Title at Pipeline 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 ahead of his best friend Joel Parkinson.
In 2013 he won his third world title, finishing ahead of Kelly Slater on the end of year ratings.
In 2015 Fanning was in Title contention again. In the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa he had an encounter with a shark. Fanning was in the water with fellow finalist Julian Wilson when a shark exploded out of the water next to him. Fanning punched the shark in an attempt to escape the shark. The shark eventually bit off Fanning’s leash and Fanning started his attempt to flee back to shore. Wilson paddled towards Fanning to assist him and was praised for his action and hailed as a hero.
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.” The event was cancelled.
At the end of the 2015 season Fanning was locked in a world title showdown with Brazilian Adriano De Souza. On the eve of the showdown Mick received word that his older brother had passed away due to a heart condition. He continued to surf in the event to honour his brother. Ultimately he lost the World Title to De Souza and finished runner-up to the crown.
In 2016 Mick surfed select events and took a hiatus from competition. In returned in 2017 and then retired at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach where he finished 2nd to Brazilian Italo Ferreira.
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.
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. In 2019, Fanning invested in Australian dog food company Scratch
In August 2020 Mick and his fiancé, Bree, welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Xander.
In May 2021 Mick was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.