Meet One of the Top Surfers in the World

Mick Fanning on the beach ready for a surf competition. Photo by Eduardo Palacios and MarkYourWave.

Meet Mick Fanning! He is a three-time World Surf Champion, shark encounter survivor, and the world’s fastest surfer! Truly a surfing legend, Fanning carries the nickname “White Lightning” for his high-speed surfing that has long been the benchmark of speed, power, and flow. Mick Fanning has inspired the world far beyond just his surfing skills. From his journey, we can all learn a lesson about staying motivated and passionate, especially through challenging times. 

Mick Fanning was born in Penrith, Australia, a small western suburb outside of Sydney. He started surfing at the young age of five and grew up spending his free time catching waves with his three older brothers. In 1996 he began making a name for himself after placing top three in the Australian National Titles, at just fifteen years old. The future seemed bright for this young surfing prodigy!

Two young surfers heading to the ocean with their surfboards to hit the waves

 Fanning’s personal journey to the top was anything but smooth. In 1998 tragedy struck his family when his close brother, Sean, died in a car accident. Sean and Mick had shared a passion for surfing and often competed together. They encouraged one another to reach their shared goal: to one day make it to the world tour. With the loss of his brother, Fanning found a new motivation to surf in honor of his brother.

Hard times continued to expose themselves in Fanning’s life when in 2004 he tore his hamstring while on a surfing trip in Indonesia. His injury was a setback and threatened his professional career, but it did not stop him from reaching his goal of being a world champion. Fanning stayed motivated, and in 2007 his hard work paid off when he won his first world championship title in Brazil. But Fanning didn’t stop there! He again won the world title in 2009 and again in 2013. 

 Professional surfer catching a wave while the sun is setting.


After three world champion titles, Mick Fanning had truly made a name for himself! But in 2015 he became an absolute icon after fighting off a shark during a surfing competition. On July 19th, 2015, Fanning encountered a great white shark just two minutes into the J-Bay Open finals at Jeffrey Bay, South Africa. Fanning sat on his board waiting to grab a wave when he suddenly felt his leg rope being pulled down. Immediately seeing fins and in a panic, Fanning punched the shark and tried to wedge his board between the shark and his body. The shark eventually bit off Fanning’s leash as Fanning started his flight back to shore. A response team further assisted Fanning by scaring away the shark and picking Fanning up in a boat. Luckily, he escaped completely unharmed and later told reporters, “I’m just lucky it wasn’t my time.” 

Although the trauma of a shark encounter could cost a surfer their career, Fanning was back in the water within less than a week after the attack; this time with a new perspective and a renewed dedication to surfing for his late brother, Sean. Fanning went on to take victory at the Hurley Pro Trestles Beach and finished the year 2nd in ratings. Later that year, in the middle of another World Title race at Pipeline, Fanning’s brother Peter passed away. Through every horrible episode, Fanning rebounded with bravery, grace, and conviction. By the end of his career, Mick Fanning had won 22 championship tours and voted Australian Male Surfer in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011,2014, 2015, AND 2016. He truly is an inspiration!


Here at Anchor Chief we honor Mick Fanning's career as a professional surfer and are inspired by his perseverance. We love following his surfing career, especially knowing even a little bit of his story. Like us, other people and companies have continued to promote his career in different ways. One company to dedicate a product to Fanning’s career is Dragon Alliance. Dragon sunglasses are a unique mix of performance and creativity. They explain, “From shared peak experiences and combining the fusion of art and performance, the Dragon Frame of Mind is set on exploring the unknown while continuing to unite the worlds and personas that make up our alliance.” Mick Fanning is part of the Dragon surf roster and the company actually carries their own line of Mick Fanning sunglasses, the Baile-Mick Fanning Matte Black and Jet black sunglasses.

Shop Mick Fanning’s pair here

Dragon Sunglasses Australia

Dragon sets out to be the leading eyewear and accessories brand in the active youth lifestyle market by supporting the best athletes with premier products. Their mission still holds true today and remains to be the driving force behind the company’s triumph and heritage. With top-level products and athletes in mind, their roster has grown to include some of the most influential snowboarders, skiers, surfers, and motocross riders in the world.

Check out more Dragon products at Anchor Chief