Mick Fanning may have missed out on the 2015 World Champion title after losing to Adriano de Souza in a nailbiter at the Billabong Pipe Masters in Oahu, Hawaii, but he’s the true hero of the hour in a lot of people’s eyes – including de Souza’s.
“I think Mick deserved it more than me,” de Souza told press after clinching the 2015 world title in the semi-finals. “He’s such a strong man, a three-time world champion. The strongest man I have met in my whole life.”
Mick lost his semi-final to defending champ Gabriel Medina, paving the way for de Souza ahead of his last-four encounter with Mason Ho.
De Souza beat Ho in their semi-final to win his maiden world crown, becoming the second Brazilian after Medina to claim the world championship, and later beat Medina in the final to take home the crown.
Mick’s mum, Liz, has been a rock-solid pillar of support for her son, cheering him on from the crowd the entire time; this despite learning of her older son Peter‘s tragic death just hours before Mick paddled out.
A beautiful hug from a beautiful mum. Liz and @Mick_Fanning share a special moment at #PipeMasters Pic @ripcurl_usa pic.twitter.com/uJLn8Bfjwx
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) December 17, 2015
The sporting community is now rallying behind Fanno as he struggles to comprehend with the loss of a second brother (Sean Fanning died in a fatal car accident in 1998), saluting his strength, bravery and professionalism in the face of such a shitty hand.
.@Mick_Fanning, you’re a true champ of the sport. We all rode it with you. pic.twitter.com/3h8UQc7MyE
— Red Bull Australia (@redbullau) December 18, 2015
An amazing year, an amazing man. @Mick_Fanning , 2015 runner up world title. Congrats to @MineirinhoSurf #WorldTitle pic.twitter.com/zYVpuve103
— Rip Curl (@ripcurl_europe) December 17, 2015
Ticker plus @Mick_Fanning wasn’t to be but you’ve done us proud #respect #PipeMasters congrats de Souza on title pic.twitter.com/KqLbrO7Wqu
— Jim Wilson (@JimWilsonTV) December 17, 2015
ICYMI, Fanno posted a touching tribute to Pete to his Instagram yesterday, calling his bro “a hero”.
I am so grateful for the incredible love and well wishes that have come my way since learning of my eldest brother’s passing this morning. Like all my big brothers, Peter will always be a hero to me. I have so many great memories of the good times we have all spent together and they will be with me forever. We recently caught up and he told me how proud he was of me and how much he loves watching me compete. Today was one of the most challenging days of my life but I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that’s what Pete would want. I also want to give special thanks to my other brothers – my friends on tour – for their support, I couldn’t have got through today without them. I would ask for some privacy on this matter while we come to terms with this devastating loss. Big thanks from our entire family. Tell the special people in your life you love them and give them a hug.
Australia’s proud of you, Mick.
Image: Red Bull Australia.