Mick Fanning on the cover of CEO magazine and the 2015 Great White attack at Jeffreys Bay.
Mick Fanning almost in the jaws of a Great White shark at Jeffreys Bay in 2015 and, inset, Fanning the biz man on the cover of CEO magazine. | Photo: CEO magazine

Mick Fanning amasses $13 million fortune following crippling bout of depression and near-death encounter with Great White shark

So rich he can lift his delicate fingers in the air, click them like castanets and be handed anything he wants!

It will come as little surprise to regulars on this page that the proprietors have had no meaningful contact with the three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning in a decade and a half.

(If you’ll recall, Chas Smith faithfully reported his encounter with Mick Fanning at a party in December 2009 to celebrate the Coolangatta surfer’s world title, the story Tales of a Fucking Jew, appearing in the January-February, 2010, issue.)

Therefore the immensity of his net worth, somewhere around thirteen million American dollars, and the revelation Fanning was so depressed he struggled to get out of bed following his premature retirement at the end of 2015 following his Great White encounter, a world title loss to Adriano de Souza, the death of his brother Peter and divorce from wife Karissa, comes as a terrific surprise.

At the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Melbourne, Australia, Mick Fanning described the year as the worst of his life.

“By the end of that year, I felt like I had nothing left to give, but had no idea what I was going to do. My fun barrel was empty so I had to figure out ways to fill it back up,” Mick Fanning told the annual four-day gathering of investors, startup founders, investors and general sorts of biz people.

“I tried some things that were outside my comfort zone, and hoped I’d find myself again. That feeling of being uncomfortable helped me learn a lot about who I was and what I could pour into my fun tank.”

First, Fanning co-founded a craft brewery with some pals and called it Balter. Two years later, seven hundred venues were slinging it at their patrons and a year after that Carlton & United Breweries gave ’em US$128 million for the brand, Fanning pocketing a sweet two-and-a-half mill.

“It helped me think about my ‘afterlife’, when I’d no longer be competing. It wasn’t easy because surfing was everything, and the ocean had always been my healing place. But stepping back for those few months had let me think about the fact I was getting older, and realize that I wouldn’t lose my entire identity when I was no longer on the tour,” Mick Fanning told CEO magazine.

“It also made it easier to finally quit because I could see there were still fun things to do in the corporate world and lots for me to learn.”

And still the money kept rolling in. He is now so rich can lift his delicate fingers in the air, click them like castanets and be handed anything he wants!

Rip Curl signed Fanning to a ten-year deal, worth many millions, in 2019, Red Bull and Mercedes sling him cash and if you want to get Fanning to speak at your corporate event you ain’t getting change from a hundred gees.


Mick Fanning has parlayed his cash into a wildly diverse series of businesses, including “ethical” dog food brand Scratch, biotech company Sea Forest, a burger chain Fritzenberger, a Byron Bay yoga studio as well as myriad forays into the real estate game.

“My advice to an entrepreneur starting out is to find people you really trust and admire, and ask them a million questions. Then just go for it and believe in yourself. There’s always going to be someone saying you can’t do it, that it won’t work, but if you have belief you can make things happen,” says Fanning.

Surfer of the year Nathan Florence the surprise hero of eight-hour-a-day office Joes!

"We’d all like to be Nathan Florence, surfing around the world and being handed out full-body cardio workouts like they’re a morning coffee."

So I’m in the garage,  sweating away on a half-broken elliptical, my Chromebook balanced precariously on the office chair sitting in front of me, watching the latest Nathan Florence clip.

Have you seen it?


It’s nuts.

Nathan Florence and his coterie attacking what has to be one of the scariest, most fuck-off waves in the world. The jagged, kunji-covered jewel in the crown of Atlantic surfing. Mullaghmore. 

It’s hard to imagine how Nathan Florence can raise the bar any further.

Yet here, I think as my spindly legs thrash away on the rusted piece of exercise equipment that my wife won’t let me bring into the house proper, he’s done it again. Side-slipping down the face of cartoon-like portals. Treating spine-crunching Mullaghmore like it’s three-foot Bingin.

It’s easy to hang shit on the YouTube generation and their hamster wheel of cheese-grade content creators. But Nathan Florence is inscrutable. An institution. Like Thanksgiving dinners or Christmas puddings.

Like Thanksgiving dinners or Christmas puddings.

That’s a good line.

I’ll have to write it  down before I forget it. I click the elliptical into a lower gear. Up the resistance. Imagine I’m a dedicated, elite athlete. Just like Nathan Florence.

This fucken elliptical. I’d prefer to be surfing.

But it’s another one of those cold, bleak November afternoons at home. Soft rain dribbling across the windows. A strong nor-east wind has been blowing for days, causing another cold water upwelling. Spring time water hovers at icecream-headache temperatures. A weak, long interval south swell has a couple of little ones wrapping around the Point every ten minutes. Objectively, it’s not worth getting wet.

I decide for a quick session on the elliptical instead.

You tried one before? They’re pretty regular in gyms, I am led to believe, though I have never stepped foot in one to verify. Like a treadmill, but with handles attached to the footing so you get a full body workout.

Because, fuck it, I’m closing in on  forty. And this is the shit you need to do to yourself sometimes. When you’re an office worker, sitting down eight hours a day. We’d all like to be Nathan Florence, surfing waves of consequence around the world and being handed out full-body cardio workouts like they’re a morning coffee.

But this was the hand I was dealt.

I found the thing on the side of the road only a few doors down from my place, the elliptical, about a week or so ago. A “Free” sign hanging jauntily off its handles. The electrics were cooked, so no calorie counting, but the pedals and apparatus itself were all in tact. You could even still manually adjust the setting.

This is it, I thought to myself as I surveyed its weathered frame. This is my ticket to fitness. I imagined myself on it 24/7. During work meetings. Watching tv. At family events. At the end of the aisle at my daughter’s wedding, popping away. I’ll be the fittest man alive.

The cunt was heavy, but. Too much to carry back up the road myself without scratching the fuck out of it. All I had on hand was the wife’s hatchback. I ran back home and grabbed the keys. Rolled the car back down the hill, and reversed up next to it, like a snake sizing up its prey. It was going to be tricky. But I popped the boot anyway.

Some inspired thinking and I had it in the car. Then it was in the garage. And now here I am, bopping away on it like the fuckwit I am.

It’s funny.

I can run for an hour and not break a sweat. But twenty minutes on this thing pumps me. It gets boring, though. I burn through the podcasts. Only so many spotify soundtracks I can listen to.

Which brings me back to this afternoon in question, and the entire reason I am watching YouTube on my Chromebook, resting awkwardly on the side of my chair.

I’d seen a clip of the new Nathan Florence video on Insta and just had to watch it. I cued it up on the lappy before I started my run. A 25 minute episode. Perfect.

He drops in on one. Crouched, his hands fused in place to the rails, body and board locked into a stupendous free fall. He looks like one of those toy plastic soldiers I used to throw from the upstairs balcony.

He lands in the foamball. Is annihilated.

What runs through your mind when you’re throwing yourself into something like that, I wonder as I slow my rhythm on the elliptical back down. Surely there’s some sense of self -preservation flickering somewhere?

I know my automatic instinct. My deeply ingrained fight-or-flight response, proven time and time again on the countless waves I could have went, but didn’t. Pull back. Save yourself.

I guess that’s why I’m here in a garage, on a broken down elliptical, and Nathan Florence is the Content King of the Surfing World.

Content King of the Surfing World. 

That’s a great line, I think to myself as I begin to speed back up, the elliptical groaning and shuddering under my weight. I need to get it down before I forget.

VF Corp CEO Bracken (left) tells Vans employee to beat it. Photo: Bad Santa
VF Corp CEO Bracken (left) tells Vans employee to beat it. Photo: Bad Santa

Vans parent company celebrates annual holiday mass sacking by shredding 500 workers ahead of Christmas!

Ho ho ho!

It’s that most wonderful time of the year, the joyous season when children make lists of what they wish to see under the tree, old friends reunite over a warm mug of nog and Vans parent company VF Corp holds its annual mass layoffs. This year Christmas came early for 500 employees who were executed before the calendar even flipped to December.

Likely dressed as jolly old Saint Nick, CEO Bracken Darrell “looks to speed up the turnaround of the company’s Vans division and overall North America business, while cutting costs,” according to Shop Eat Surf.

The official statement read, “As part of VF’s new Reinvent strategy, and with the aim of improving operational efficiency, we have eliminated approximately 500 salaried positions across the company globally. While these decisions are never easy, they will give us the financial flexibility to invest behind our brands and better position us for long-term growth. We’re committed to handling this restructuring with dignity and respect for all involved and want to thank those impacted for their valued contributions to VF.”

Like the sound of sleigh bells jing-jing-jingling.

But, quickly, what sort of name is “Bracken?”

Anyhow, back to Shop Eat Surf, “VF in the quarter ended Sept. 30 reported revenue of $3.03 billion, down 4% in constant currency. The company’s net loss totaled $450.7 million, compared to $118.4 million net loss in the year-ago period, with the widening partially attributed to the ruling on a tax case stemming from the acquisition of Timberland.”

Woulda been a lot cooler if they acquired Timbaland instead.

Oh well.

Happy Holidays!

"Jake Howard." Photo: A computer?
"Jake Howard." Photo: A computer?

Sports Illustrated leaks possible “fake AI-generated writer” into surf world!

All hell breaking loose.

The media landscape was rocked, yesterday, when it was revealed that Sports Illustrated had published stories using fake AI-generated writers. Our surf world, frankly, was less than surprised as Sports Illustrated’s owner, The Arena Group, also counts Surfer Magazine amongst its titles.

There is, of course, no need to re-acquaint with Emily Morgan who was introduced as Surfer’s new trending news writer soon after The Arena Group acquisition. She enjoyed spicy food, strong coffee walks with her dog and lived in the shadow of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains though was disappeared quickly after her quirky AI-styled verbiage was called out.

Our surf world is small, however, and her ripple didn’t spread beyond these shores.

The Sports Illustrated brouhaha, on the other hand, has exploded. Major news outlets are covering the story with Sports Illustrated’s own staff raging mad.

In a letter to ownership, the writers issued a public statement reading, “We, the workers of the SI Union, are horrified by a story on the site Futurism. If true, these practices violate everything we believe about journalism. We deplore being associated with something so disrespectful to our readers. We demand answers and transparency from [parent group] Arena Group management about what exactly has been published under the SI name. We demand the company adhere to basic journalistic standards, including not publishing computer-written stories by fake people.”


And yet, one of those Sports Illustrated “fake people” might have leaked into surfing. This morning a piece titled “Highlights: Hawaii’s Black Friday Swell Delivers Massive Surf On Maui” was published by “Jake Howard” who might be described as a “neutral white young-adult male with short blonde hair and blue eyes.”

“Seasoned big-wave surfers in Hawaii, from Kai Lenny to Mark Healey, all described the giant northwest swell that hit the Hawaiian Islands the day after Thanksgiving as unexpectedly big and power,” it began. “Forecast models indicated it was going to be big, but it’s always interesting when swell events like this exceed expectations.”

Suspect certainly and more work must be done to uncover whether this “Jake Howard” is real or simply a machine with cute dimples and eyes that melt even the coldest of hearts.

The yeoman’s labor of true, honest, human surf journalism.

More as the story develops.

Bobby Martinez (pictured) near sainthood. Photo: Morgan Maassen
Bobby Martinez (pictured) near sainthood. Photo: Morgan Maassen

Tributes pour in for Bobby Martinez as onetime surf tour standout’s bold prophecy fully manifests!

Come honor the legend.

Augury is not an easy game. The variables in life, near infinite, can make a sure bet go very quickly sideways. Oh it is easy for the average fella to mumble something they think might happen in the future if this or that also occurs etc. etc. with many caveats and hedges in place. It is equally difficult to stand in front of the world, microphone in hand, and prophesy loud enough for everyone to hear. For everyone to know where the marker is and be able to hold account.

Over twelve years on, Bobby Martinez’s presage there on the sands of New York rings truer and truer and truer with each one that passes.

“I don’t want to be part of this dumb fucken wanna be tennis tour.”

Now he could have said “I don’t want to be part of this dumb fucken wanna be dog show.” Or he could have said, “I don’t want to be part of this dumb fucken wanna be rodeo.”

But he did not. He said, very clearly, “I don’t want to be part of this dumb fucken wanna be tennis tour.”

Surf Fans Bow Heads in Front of Bobby Martinez

Understandable, then, why tributes are pouring in today, praising Martinez, offering fealty to his wisdom.

For hours ago, the sitting World Surf League CEO Cherie R. Cohen (She/Her), who must not like that poisoned title so continues to operate as “Global Chief Officer & Advisor,” took to social media to declare “Our very own, takes the court. So proud of you Sarah Swanson! Excited to collaborate. Surf + turf.”

Swanson held the position as the World Surf League’s Chief Marketing Officer bringing us gems like “It takes a tour to make a title” and the Bailey Ladder Leaderboard.

What cross pollination between tennis and surfing do you image we’ll see as the new season gets underway?

Are you brave enough to loudly predict?