In 2001 Mick Fanning won his first ever CT event, competing as a wildcard at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Photo: WSL

His first year on Tour, Mick won the 2002 event at Jeffrey’s Bay – a wave that would go on to play a pivotal role in his career and his life. Photo: WSL

After time off the World Tour in 2004 due to a career-threatening injury (tearing his hamstring off the bone), Mick claimed a win at his home break, Snapper Rocks. Photo: WSL

In 2006 Mick made it clear he was on a war path for his first World Title, after taking the adversity he faced with his injury and turning it into momentum to succeed. Here he is, winning at Jeffery’s Bay yet again. Photo: WSL

Winning at his home break, Snapper Rocks, yet again… Photo: WSL

And then it happened – Mick Fanning’s first World Title win, claimed in Brazil long before the end of the season. Photo: WSL

In 2009 Mick claimed wins in Trestles, France and Portugal – a string of success that led to his second World Title. Here is his dear friend, the late, great, “Woody”, doing what he did best – taking care of the people he called his family. Photo: WSL

And there it is – that second World Title – won on the beach at Pipeline. Photo: WSL

The moment the Champ handed the new Champ his second World Title… a moment to remember. Photo: WSL

A famous moment at Bells Beach, where Joel Parkinson beat Mick in the final at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Mick, always gracious in loss, cheering his good mate on. Photo: WSL

Then one year later, taking the win for himself. And it felt even sweeter… Photo: WSL

The infamous photo that Mick, and all of us, will never forget. Winning in France, 2013. Photo: WSL

The moment that Mick Fanning became a 3x World Champion, on the beach at Pipeline. Photo: WSL

Now a pet event for Mick… the 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Photo: WSL

And then, in a matter of moments, Mick’s life – and surfing history – changed forever. One of the most intense events in sporting, ever. Photo: WSL

But in 2015 the drama didn’t end in Jeffrey’s Bay for Mick. After learning of the passing of his brother just the night before, Mick paddled out on Finals day at Pipeline and competed for his fourth World Title. Photo: WSL

And even though he didn’t take the Title in 2015, the year went down in history – and the way he performed at Pipeline that day will never be forgotten. Photo: WSL

In 2016 Mick took some time off, only competing in select events and taking some time to see the world – and let the events of 2015 sink in. Here he is, on a Search trip with Mason Ho in Alaska. Photo: Rip Curl

But he didn’t just forget about what happened in 2015. He went back to Jeffrey’s Bay and conquered his fears, winning the entire event and putting an end to the traumatic story of the year past. Photo: WSL

From Alaska to Africa to Ireland and back again, Mick’s year was full of standing tall in barrels and experiencing things he never had… Here he is, exploring the Emerald Isle, the land of his ancestry. Photo: Rip Curl

On his year-long journey, he travelled to a top secret location on The Search – a wave that has come to be known as The Snake – and he got a taste for what life would be like after the Tour. A taste that enticed him. Mick Fanning, 3x World Champion, is officially on The Search. #CheersMick, what an incredible journey you’ve had. Photo: Rip Curl