While the first surfing Olympic sport will occur In Tokyo 2020, the legend Mick Fanning has decided to quit competing all together. Comparable to Kelly Slater and an icon of the modern surfing world, Fanning has made a name for himself not only through surfing but through two shark attacks. What can we learn from his bravery to keep surfing? A lot.
In 2015, at the J-Bay Open in South Africa, surfer Mick Fanning was attacked by a Great White; actually, his board was. A great set was rolling in and Fanning didn’t appear to be catching it. The mates on shore were screaming for him to catch this great set of waves rolling in, but a sinister tide rolled instead (pun!). On live television, Fanning was seen to be thrashing above and under the water with this shark, punching it and finally ditching his board to hop on the rescue vehicle. His long time friend Julian Wilson paddled out after him but the rescue vehicles made it there first. Other than knowing to hit sharks as hard as you can on the head, gills or back in this situation, Mick Fanning taught us more off the water.
When Fanning got off the water, he described himself as “tripping” and considering never competing again, however, he competed for three more years after. A near death experience in the open ocean could not stop Fanning from doing what it is that he loves most–surfing. The lesson we can all take from this near death experience for a pro is that nobody can escape death, but death is not worth being scared of. So go on that hike, go out of your comfort zone–because if you’re living in fear, you might as well already be dead.
Although Fanning has decided not to continue competing in surf opens, he’s come to this conclusion because the competition lifestyle has taken away from his love of raw surfing. Fanning will continue to surf and be a legend, just not in intense, grueling competitions.
Check out the shark attack interview and more below 🙂