Three-time world champion Mick Fanning has given a young fan more than he bargained for, gifting him the surfboard he had just used in his second-last event before retiring.
Footage of the exchange tweeted by World Surf League shows the stunned youngster standing in the shallows to greet the surfer as he wades out of the water at Snapper Rocks on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Hurriedly recapping a pen he likely intended for an autograph, the boy quickly changes tack.
“Really?” the surprised fan said when Fanning handed him the board.
Mick Fanning giving back after his last heat ever at Snapper Rocks #CheersMick
Posted by World Surf League on Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Fanning announced he would be retiring from professional surfing in February via social media.
The 36-year-old made it through to the fourth round at the Gold Coast Pro, defeating American Conner Coffin in the third round, but was later eliminated from the competition.
He finished third behind defending champion Owen Wright and Brazilian Tomas Hermes.
Fanning has just one more event left in his competitive career at Bells Beach — the same beach where he won his first tour in 2001.