By now, of course, you know that Mick Fanning has hung up his competitive jersey. Surf fans around the world wept into their hands, shaking their fists at the sky from bended knee. Protesters smashed windows, looted, and torched police cars. THe WSL, without Mick, has officially shuttered its windows and locked up for the last time, its windows dark and its coffers empty. All because of Mick.
No, none of that happened. But Mick IS retired, at least from the full-time tour. He will, however, drag himself from whatever paradisiacal secret wave he’ll be at to compete in cow country at the Future Classic. His life wasn’t all perfect waves, obviously. You’ve probably heard bits and pieces of his story—the shark attack, the deaths of his brothers, one on the eve of a Pipeline showdown. Through it all, Fanning dropped a shoulder and bullishly battered his way towards whatever he was working at. Mick, along with a little help from Red Bull illustrators, tells his story—and it’s a good one.