Surf star Mick Fanning is planning to take a break, and a well-deserved one at that. The triple world champion will not compete for the 2016 World Surf League title after a year from hell in 2015.
A lot of difficult things have happened in the life of Mick Fanning over the last 12 months or so. Just a month ago, he announced in a beautifully written Facebook post that he was ending his marriage with Karissa Dalton.
"I have nothing but love and respect for this woman," Fanning said. "Karissa has stood by me since we first met in 2004. We have shared plenty of great times but more importantly she has helped me through some of the toughest moments in my life, especially this past year."
In December last year, on the day Fanning was surfing for a potential fourth world title, he learned that his elder brother Peter, 43, had died.
And of course, there was the infamous incident at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, when Fanning was lucky to come away alive after a shark attacked him.
Interestingly, Fanning said on Thursday that he'd like to return to the spot which surfers call J-Bay.
“I want to go back to J-Bay,” Fanning said. “I feel like there’s something there that I want to go and face. I want to make sure that I scratch that off the list. I think the main thing will be that first surf."
The shadow of the shark continues to follow Fanning.
What he doesn't want to return to is the grind of the World Surf League.
"Last year was definitely intense. What happened at J-Bay, being in a title race and the unfortunate passing of my brother," he said.
Fanning said he would surf the two Australian events on the tour -- the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast in March and the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in late March and early April.
“They are two events that I love and I’d go crazy if I were sitting at home and couldn’t go surf Snapper."
But apart from those two he'll be recharging. Most of us go to the beach to wind down. Mick Fanning's going to spend some Mick Fanning time without sand between his toes in 2016.