Ten-year-old Nate Johnson asked Mick Fanning for an autograph at the Quiksilver Pro and was given his board instead. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Ten-year-old Nate Johnson asked Mick Fanning for an autograph at the Quiksilver Pro and was given his board instead. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Fanning gesture ‘best day of my life’

'THE best day of my life'.

That's how the boy to whom retiring surfing legend Mick Fanning gave his board after being knocked out of the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast has described his elation.

Tweed Coast 10-year-old Nate Johnson approached his idol for his autograph as the triple world champion walked from the water after being eliminated in the fourth round of his last Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks yesterday.

Ten-year-old Nate Johnson asked Mick Fanning for an autograph at the Quiksilver Pro and was given his board instead. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Ten-year-old Nate Johnson asked Mick Fanning for an autograph at the Quiksilver Pro and was given his board instead. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Instead, Fanning shocked Nate by giving him his board.

"It was the best day of my life," Nate said today.

"I was speechless when he gave it to me. I thought at one stage he was joking but then I thought, he would never joke."

Nate Johnson plans to hang Mick Fanning’s board on his wall. Picture Glenn Hampson
Nate Johnson plans to hang Mick Fanning’s board on his wall. Picture Glenn Hampson

Nate, a Year 6 student at Bogangar Public School, said Fanning had always been his favourite surfer and the surfboard gesture made him respect him even more.

"I've got posters of him all over my bedroom," he said.

"He's not just a great surfer, he's really, really nice. He always gives back."

Nate is a keen surfer but Fanning's board was too much of a treasure to ride.

"I'll probably hang it on the wall," he said.

His mother, Melinda, said Fanning was an incredible role model for her son.

"It's great he has someone as impressive a sportsman as Mick to look up to," she said.

Fanning will hang up his world championship competition vest after the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach later this month.


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