Mick Fanning's decision to take a break from full-time surfing in 2016 has been given the backing of Kelly Slater.
Fanning will only compete in a handful of events on this year's tour after an emotionally draining 2015.
As well as narrowly missing out on a fourth world title, Fanning had a global spotlight turned on him after surviving a shark attack during the final of an event in South Africa.
He then had to overcome the death of his older brother and a marriage breakdown.
Slater, holder of a record 11 world championships, said three-time champion Fanning had earned the right to do as much, or as little, surfing as he wants.
The American is no stranger to the benefits of a break from touring.
The 44-year-old didn't compete on the tour for three years after claiming five consecutive titles in the 1990s.
"A guy in Mick's position, whose done as well as he has, should have that option to do that," Fanning told AAP.
"Whether he's on his way out or thinking about it, or just needs some time.
"You can easily say mental and emotional strain is worse than a physical injury oftentimes.
"He had a radical year last year and anyone would need some time to themselves after that."
As to his own future, Slater was coy on how much longer he'll be on tour after a disappointing second round exit at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.
"Maybe I'll beat him (Fanning) to the punch?," Slater said.
"I don't know (but) good on Mick. He knows what he wants.
"He's a real decisive person and if that's what he wants to do, good on him."