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ON DISPLAY

Mick Fanning at Snapper Rock
, 2010

by Andrew Maccoll

type C photograph (image: 101.5 cm x 152.2 cm)

Michael ‘Mick’ Fanning AO (b. 1981) was the world’s number one surfer in 2007, 2009 and 2013. Fanning began surfing in Ballina at five and, in spite of severe scoliosis, took up the sport in earnest in Tweed Heads at the age of twelve. He finished in the top three at the Australian national titles in 1996, and though devastated by the accidental death of his brother Sean, also a surfer, in 1998, he won the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria in 2001 on a wild card entry. Turning professional in 2002, and weathering a complete hamstring tear in 2004, he won the 2007 Quiksilver Pro and the Santa Catarina Pro to finish ahead of major rivals Taj Burrow and Kelly Slater and win the Association of Surfing Professionals’ world title for the first time. After a groin injury in 2008, he slipped to eighth position on the world rankings, but battled to reclaim his world crown in Hawaii in 2009. He finished as the ASP world number one for the third time in 2013. In 2014 he won his third Rip Curl Pro at Bells. To date, he has 22 Championship Tour victories, and was Australian male surfer of the year nine times between 2002 and 2016. In July 2015, while competing in South Africa, he was pursued by a shark, but fended off an attack by punching it. Shortly before the final event of the 2015 series, a second brother, Pete, died. At the close of the season Mick was ranked second in the world. Fanning is the co-author of the inspiring biography Surf for your life (2009), later re-issued in a ‘Grommets’ Edition’.

Andrew Maccoll snared this portrait in a short session with Fanning before a major competition on the Gold Coast. The weather had changed from sunny to threatening – conditions that suited Maccoll’s style. He said ‘It was important for me to keep the portrait minimalistic . . . If I can take myself out of the equation and leave just this emotional connection between people viewing my images and the subject then I have been successful.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2011
Accession number: 2011.21