Mick Fanning sharpens his exit strategy
On the eve of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, Mick Fanning has spent the past week filling copy space in the business section of the press. First was a new sponsorship with Mercedes Benz, following on from Audi, and before that Ford, and overnight came news that Fanning has become part owner in long time sponsor, Creatures of Leisure.
Fanning first signed with Creatures of Leisure in 1997 when he was 16-years old and his contract with the accesories comapny was coming up for renewal.
“We started talking about future plans and ownership was put on the table as a way of me becoming more involved in the business” says Fanning, “and I thought that sounded absolutely perfect!”
Though he's yet to announce his retirement, the shift from sponsorship to part-owner is a way of deriving income when Fanning's competitive days are done. He's also a part-owner in Balter Brewery and has just released his own line of softboards.
The overnight news mirrors a shift in the surf industry where pro surfer-owned brands are finding a foothold, the most obvious being Dane Ryenolds and Craig Anderson with Former. Yet many other pros such as Josh Kerr, Taj, Luke Egan, and of course Kelly Slater are discovering the entrepreneurial spirit and parlaying their celebrity into successful businesses.