SURFING icon Mick Fanning has announced his retirement.
The 36-year-old Aussie, nicknamed "White Lightning", broke the news he'd be stepping away from the sport on social media Wednesday afternoon.
Fanning, a six-time Australian Male Surfer of the Year, won three ASP World Championships in his illustrious career after having name explode on the world tour following his victory at the 2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach as a wildcard entry.
But now, 17 years on, The Penrith-born star says his passion to perform at the sport's highest level has waned.
"I feel like I've just lost the drive to compete day-in day-out now," Fanning said via a Red Bull press release.
"It's been something I've been doing for 17 years, and even before that through QS and Juniors, and I feel that I just can't give it 100 per cent anymore. I'm just not enjoying it as much as I was in the past. I still love surfing, and I'm still super excited by it, but I feel that's there's other paths for me to take at this stage in my life."
Fanning will compete at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast before returning to Bells Beach one last time.
"As for choosing to retire at Bells, I've always had in mind that my last event on Tour was going to be Bells," he said. "That's basically where I started my career, it was my first ever CT win and I feel really connected down there."
"After so many years on tour, it's been so fun," says Mick. "It's been a rollercoaster for sure, you have your peaks and valleys, but you know, when I look back on my time on tour it's amazing memories - from building myself up to compete, to heat wins and event wins, celebrating with friends and just seeing places I never thought I'd even get to."
In 2015, Fanning made international headlines after a horrifying incident with a shark at the J-Bay Open.
Competing in final of the South African tournament, Fanning found himself next to a great white shark, who began attacking him while he paddled out. Fanning punched the shark and was able to fend off the beast before being rescued by a support boat.
"I was just sitting there and I felt something just get stuck in my leg rope, and I was kicking, trying to get it away," Fanning said after the horrifying moment.
"I was just about to start moving and then I felt something grab [and] get stuck in my leg rope. And I instantly just jumped away and it just kept coming at my board. I was just started kicking and screaming. Wow!
"I just saw fin, I didn't see the teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming."
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