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Free Fanning out for Gold Coast success after a horror filled 2015

  • Free Fanning out for Gold Coast success after a horror filled 2015

    Mick Fanning can't wait to compete at this week's World Surf League opener on the Gold Coast.

After a drama-filled 2015, surfing champ Mick Fanning is already feeling the benefit of his decision to step back from full-time competition this year.

The three-time world champion will only take part in a handful of events on this year's World Surf League, starting with the season opener at his home break on the Gold Coast this week.

After a turbulent 12 months where he narrowly missed out on a fourth championship despite a shark attack during competition in South Africa, the death of his older brother and a marriage breakdown, Fanning's decision to take a "personal year" isn't surprising.

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Fanning announced last month he wouldn't be competing full-time on the tour in 2016 and says it's a decision that's got him feeling good heading into the Quiksilver Pro.

"I'm really excited for the year," Fanning told AAP.

"I've never had a time where I haven't had my whole year planned out. Now I've got time to figure out what I can and can't do and it's going to be fun."

Fanning's no worries approach just might be the key to ending a near decade-long wait for success at his home break.

A two-time winner of the Quiksilver Pro, Fanning's last title on the Gold Coast came in 2007 and he hasn't made it to a final at the event since 2008.

Fanning says the lack of a bigger picture could be the thing that frees him up enough to claim a third Snapper Rocks crown, but he's not sure how it will affect his surfing.

"I don't know what's going to happen. I could go back into psycho-mode or I could just be fully relaxed," he said.

"I haven't even played around with practice heats or anything like that. Just been enjoying surfing, which has been really fun."

One surfer he is backing to do well over the next fortnight is good friend Joel Parkinson.

The 2012 world champion endured a tough season last year but is a past winner at Snapper Rocks and Fanning believes Parkinson could be a key player as Australian surfers try to end Brazil's two-year dominance of the event.

"The last couple of years, yeah, Brazilians have won but before that we had a pretty good stranglehold on it," Fanning said.

"This year he (Parkinson) seems fully committed.

"I know his competitive spirit is really gnarly so he's going to be fired up. Especially at home."

The competition window for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events starts on Thursday and runs until March 21.

MICK FANNING'S RECORD AT THE WORLD SURFING TITLES ON THE GOLD COAST: Wins: 2 (2005, 07) Past results 2015 - Quarter-final 2014 - Quarter-final 2013 - Semi-final 2012 - 13th 2011 - 13th 2010 - 9th 2009 - Semi-final 2008 - Final 2007 - Winner 2006 - 17th 2005 - Winner 2004 - 33rd 2003 - Semi-final 2002 - 17th Quiksilver Pro honour roll 2015 - Filipe Toledo (Bra) 2014 - Gabriel Medina (Bra) 2013 - Kelly Slater (USA) 2012 - Taj Burrow (Aus) 2011 - Kelly Slater (USA) 2010 - Taj Burrow (Aus) 2009 - Joel Parkinson (Aus) 2008 - Kelly Slater (USA) 2007 - Mick Fanning (Aus) 2006 - Kelly Slater (USA) 2005 - Mick Fanning (Aus) 2004 - Michael Lowe (Aus) 2003 - Long Stout (Aus) 2002 - Joel Parkinson (Aus)

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