"Over-surfing is a self-indulgence..."
Mick Fanning’s career, whose chiseled, slightly melancholic good looks, baritone near-bogan twang and pure speed down the line made it an unforgettable presence on the Association of Surfing Professionals/World Surf League’s Championship Tour died early yesterday at its home in Coolangatta, Australia.
It was 17.
Fanning’s career, born in 2002 with a wildcard win at the Bells Classic, often played out as morally anguished though usually displayed grace under fire. Sometimes it was filled with booze and boozy slurs. Sometimes it was clean and precise, headed to the gym for much training and sweating, but it was always there near or at the top of the professional surf ranks.
In its most memorable role, punching a South African shark in the nose in 2015, Fanning’s career garnered international acclaim for being cool, calm, collected.
It won Surfer Poll’s number three that same year for its performance as a focused Australian Gold Coaster who incurs the wrath of the ocean while defending itself and its fellow competitor Julian Wilson’s career.
Throughout, its persona as the embodiment of Australian decency made it a persuasive advocate for Red Bull, Rip Curl and Stance socks amongst others.
Its honors included Micktory, Tales of a Fucking Jew, White Lightening Strikes Twice, and Micktory III.
In its leisure time it supervised the brewing of beer.
Fanning’s career highlighted that the professional surfer’s main obligation was to entertain, never to bore, and to perform with precision, professionalism and charm. ”Over-surfing,” it once said, ”is a self-indulgence, while under-surfing comes either through a lack of talent or a lack of courage.”
It sometimes succeeded and is survived by Kelly Slater’s career and Martin Potter’s slightly agitated aspiration.
Funeral plans are still incomplete.