Local surfing superstar Mick Fanning is set to be inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame.
The three-time World Champion will join the likes of Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, Tom Carroll and Mark Richards on the prestigious list during a ceremony at the Gold Coast’s QT Hotel tonight.
The white-haired grom first burst onto the surfing scene in 2001, receiving a wildcard for the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, which he went on to win.
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Four months later, he put in a defining series of free surfing performances in phenomenal winter waves at Lennox Head.
The next year, the then-20-year-old won the event at Jeffrey’s Bay, before going on to claim the Rookie of the Year title and the World Qualifying Series, which earned him a place on the WSL Tour.
From there he went on to win numerous events as well as World Titles in 2007, 2009, and 2013 before he deciding to retire in 2018.
Nick Caroll, curator of the awards, said Mick was a deserving recipient.
“Public or private, there’s the sense that Mick Fanning, despite his renowned game face and rock-hard attitude in competition, is an open book. What you see is what you get, and that might be a quality Australians love in a person more than anything,” he said.
“Mick has defined himself by comebacks. There was injury, like the hamstring avulsion that threatened to stop his title runs before they started. There was the crazily unexpected, like the white shark encounter during the J-Bay CT final in 2015, which remains the most-watched moment in professional surfing history.
“And more than anything else, there was family tragedy: the deaths of his brothers Sean and Peter.
“In each case, he was able to draw out the lessons. The hamstring tear led to a strengthening and fitness regime that became a benchmark for elite surfing and contributed mightily to his first world championship.
“Through all this, Mick grew from an almost inarticulate grommet to one of the great modern spokespeople for the Australian surfing culture. His humble and easy way of communicating carries through his many media and public appearances, always reinforcing that natural sense of who he is, and in the process, engaging all Australians and millions of people worldwide.”