1 Mar 2018

Fanning to retire after Bells Beach

11:05 am on 1 March 2018

One of Australia's greatest surfers Mick Fanning will end his career at Bells Beach in Victoria next month after admitting he's lost the drive to compete.

Mick Fanning.

Mick Fanning. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The three-time world champion was remarkably consistent throughout his career but produced the worst full season of his career last year.

One of only five Australians to win three world surfing crowns, Fanning made two semi-finals and won only one event in 2016 after skipping several events for personal reasons.

That followed an emotional rollercoaster in 2015, when he battled for the world championship amid personal loss and a near-death experience.

Though Fanning didn't publicly acknowledge it until almost 12 months later, his marriage to Karissa Dalton broke down in early 2015.

Fanning said he had "nothing but love and respect" for Dalton, who he met in 2004, but that they'd decided to go their separate ways.

In his sixth final at South Africa's Jeffreys Bay, Fanning found himself face- to-face with a great white shark.

As shown in pictures beamed live around the world, the Australian was knocked off his board and had his leash bitten through.

Surfer Mick Fanning is hunted by a great white shark in South Africa.

Surfer Mick Fanning is hunted by a great white shark in South Africa. Photo: World Surf League

But Fanning fought back, punching the predator as officials on jet-skies and fellow finalist Julian Wilson made a beeline for him.

The then 34-year-old returned home to take stock before being encouraged to rejoin the hunt for a fourth world crown.

Hours before entering the water for the third round of the season-ending Pipeline Masters, he learned of the death of his older brother Peter.

Their mother Elizabeth Osborne later said a coroner had indicated Peter, 43, died from an enlarged heart.

Dealing with the emotions of his brother's death, Fanning made the semi-finals at Pipeline but was pipped by 2014 world champion Gabriel Medina.

That handed the world title to fellow Brazillian Adrian De Souza, who was gracious in victory.

"He's (Fanning) the strongest man I've ever met in my whole life," De Souza said after claiming the title.