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Fanning backs Australian surfers to shine

The retirements of Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson last year meant the end of an era for Australian men's surfing.

Fanning backs Australian surfers to shine

The retirements of Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson last year meant the end of an era for Australian men's surfing.

MICK FANNING of Australia returns to shore following his heat during the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia.
MICK FANNING of Australia returns to shore following his heat during the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australian surfing legend Mick Fanning has backed his compatriots to break their men's world title drought, saying the talent is there.

The three-time world champion and Joel Parkinson retired last year, meaning the end of an era.


Their departures from the World Surf League means there are no Australian world champions on the men's tour.

Fanning was the last Australian men's world champion in 2013 and Parkinson won his crown the year before.

Compatriot Julian Wilson finished a close runner-up last year to Brazilian phenomenon Gabriel Medina, while Fanning also pointed to Owen Wright and Ryan Callinan as Australians with the right stuff.

"Things change and, yes, it is an end of an era," Fanning said.

"But in saying that, the kids out there are truly incredible.

"Australia's always been a powerhouse in surfing and I don't see that changing."

Fanning was runner-up in his final event last year at Bells Beach and he has not missed a beat since.

On Wednesday he signed a 10-year deal with his long-time sponsor Rip Curl and he has several business interests.

As he says, "life's good".

He is also philosophical in the wake of the tumultuous events in 2015-16 - the shark-punching incident in South Africa, the death of his brother Peter and the break-up of his marriage.

"I'm great - everyone goes through peaks and valleys," Fanning said.

"Even though my life looks amazing, I'm human.

"My peaks and valleys are probably more in the spotlight than others - I understand everyone goes through those times."

Asked if he missed competition, the answer is a cheerful but definite "no".

"I feel really comfortable, just sitting on the viewing deck and being a couch critic," he said.

But Fanning remains involved in the sport - he followed Parkinson's swansong season closely - and is keen to help other surfers where he can.

"If I can give advice or help out, that's something I will always try and do," he said.

"I'm just a huge fan of the sport - I left at a time when I didn't hate the sport ... I left before," Fanning said.

The world tour resumes in early April at Snapper Rocks, Fanning's home break.

AAP


AAP




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