Being attacked by a great white shark and living to tell about it, would top most people’s list of accomplishments. But surfer Mick Fanning is not most people.
While the attack, which occurred on live television in July 2015 during the final heat of the J-Bay Open, represented a heart-pounding moment for the talented surfer, it was the least of the hurdles he has had to overcome in his 35-year life.
The first occurred in 1998 when his brother Sean died in a car accident. At the time, Mick was 17 and Sean was 20. Like most younger brothers do, Mick looked up to Sean. And so his older brother’s sudden death was heart-wrenching, difficult enough that Mick contemplated giving up the sport of surfing.
Instead, he used his grief as motivation to honor his brother; the pair talked often about competing on the world surfing tour together. While that eluded Sean, he was never far from his brother’s heart. His name is tattooed on Mick’s arm.
And so an older brother who died far too young has been the impetus for what Mick has achieved as an adult: three world championships that have helped him lay claim to being one of the best surfers on the planet.
Then 2015 happened. First it was the shark attack. And then last December as Mick was competing for a fourth World Surf League title at the Billabong Pipe Masters, his 43-year-old brother Peter was found dead at his home due to heart complications. In the midst of that tragedy, Mick defeated 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to make it to the semifinals where he would eventually lose to second place finisher Gabriel Medina.
In the final days of that competition, Fanning posted on Instagram about the difficulty of that event. “Today was one of the most challenging days of my life but I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that’s what Pete would want,” he wrote.
This year, Mick has taken a much different tack, opting to choose where and when he would surf as opposed to competing on the professional circuit full-time. “The point of 2016 was to put myself in places that I wouldn’t normally see myself,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald, shortly after he had traveled to Norway for a photo shoot to capture him surfing under the northern lights. “This year… I could actually just stop and smell the roses.”
Following Mick Fanning’s Lead
As we say farewell to 2016 and venture into a new year, we hope you take a page from Mick Fanning’s book. For him 2016, was a year of seeking new adventures.
At X-Wear, we urge you to venture into places you normally wouldn’t find yourself in. We urge you to stop and smell the roses. And we urge you to seek new adventures.
If you need some tips on where to start, check out this blog we wrote in advance of the holiday season which features a list of products perfect for those looking to follow Mick Fanning’s lead.