Mick Fanning's career is hard to put into words. Iconic comes to mind but even that seems sub-par. The 36-year-old began his competitive surfing career at Bells Beach back in 2001, when he won the event as a lowly wildcard. Since then he's been on an emotional ride of highs and lows, including historic wins and profound, personal loss. With three World Titles to his name, the Australian can rest assured that his role in competitive surfing has changed the Tour for the better. A lot of surfers have climbed their way up the rankings, but few have made the type of contribution that Fanning has.
Tuesday at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Fanning earned two 7-point rides to over take both Patrick Gudauskas and Matt Wilkinson in Round 4. The 3x World Champ will be pitted against his long time friend and fellow Australian Owen Wright in the Quarterfinals once the contest resumes. Fortunately, this isn't the last we'll see of the surfing legend, as he'll be competing in May at the Founders' Cup of Surfing. Until then, here's a look back at his CT career. #CheersMick, the Tour misses you already.
Fanning winning his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event as a wildcard in 2001.
The three-time World Champ during a post-heat interview at Sunset Beach.
Fanning defeated fellow Australian Mick Lowe for his first J-Bay win in 2002 at 21 years old.
Winning the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in 2005.
Taj Burrow was pitted against Fanning at the 2006 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. Fanning took over the lead with just a few minutes on the clock.
Fanning during an interview at the 2007 Billabong Pro Mundaka.
Fanning on the Gold Coast in 2008 after losing the Final to Kelly Slater.
During the Pipe Masters, Fanning reclaimed the World Title in 2009.
The 3x World Champ after winning the World Title.
At the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Fanning made it to the Final but Slater won with a 17.03 heat total.
After a disappointing season opener on the Gold Coast, Fanning arrived for a press session at Bells Beach.
Fanning winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2012 -- defeating Kelly Slater in the final with two 9-point rides.
Fanning doing a rain dance at Duranbah.
The Australian holding his trophy in Portugal.
Fanning in the Jeep Leader's yellow jersey at Pipeline.
Fanning, Matt Wilkinson, Glenn Hall and Adrian Buchan arriving after a surf in Fiji.
Last year at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Fanning made it to the Quarterfinals but lost out to event winner Gabriel Medina.
The 3x World Champ descends the Bells Beach staircase prior to his heat, for one of the last few times.