Mick Fanning’s rise from provincial drunk to multiple time champion to businessman to world’s most lovable surfer has been as wonderful as it has been inspiring. Who could have ever dreamed that a boy once named Eugene would soar to such heights, captivating hearts along the way? Beer baron, hybrid yoga impresario, podcast host, adoring fans growing and growing and growing all whilst swooning over that smile once rudely described as “blandly chipped-tooth’d” (buy here in exciting new audio format read by the author). Higher and higher and higher.
And yet, if there is one important story from western civilization it is that of Icarus. The lad who tried to escape his lowly station with wings made of wax. So fond was he of soaring, though, that he flew too near the sun and met an ugly fate, drowning in the sea.
So too has Fanning just been burned by that overheating sun and is now drowning in negative Instagram comments.
The Rip Curl star took to Instagram, last week, and posted a vacuous message about Australian athletes doing their part to stop climate change.
This sort of business once received only clapping hands emojis and heart-eye’d emojis but the general public has grown weary of pure performance and Mick Fanning’s own fans viciously rounded on him.
Albie Ussher hit directly at Fanning’s bottom line, asking, “Well ironically the athletes would have to stop getting sponsored from all the polluting companies yes?”
Carl Gaudin offered, “As soon as you stop flying in planes and consuming imported products I can take you seriously on this. Or maybe I’d actually believe you cared about humanity if you spoke out about your oppressive government – that is the real threat – tyranny from government.”
Tim Bourke danced with the hypocrisy, “Stop getting 100 boards a year is a good start.”
And James Bellhouse applauded, “It’s great news that you’re shutting down production of your toxic MF softboards, they’re horrible for the environment.”
On and on it went with only brave Taylor Knox standing in the gap, offering “raise the roof” emojis.
Do you think Fanning is deeply considering the frustration or is he turning to the “world’s most environmentally damaging person” Kelly Slater for advice on how to navigate these uncertain times?
More as the story develops.