Mick Fanning: he will be enjoying a personal year | Photo: Kirstin/WSL

Mick Fanning decided to take a break from full-time professional surfing.

The Australian surfer, 34, announced he will be taking a "personal year," and he will only be competing in select events throughout 2016.

"Last year was definitely intense - what happened at J-Bay, being in a title race and the unfortunate passing of my brother. There was so much build up with everything happening. I got to a point at the end of the year where I felt empty. I didn't feel like I had much to give back," explained Fanning.

"This year, I'm going to take some time off and have a bit of a personal year. Just to regroup and re-stoke the fire. At this stage, I'm going to compete at Snapper, and I'm going to compete at Bells, and then I'm going to take some time off from there."

Mick Fanning says he has full support from his family, sponsors, friends and the World Surf League. Nevertheless, the three-time world champion plans to return to the waves of South Africa where he almost lost his life.

"I want to go back to J-Bay. I feel like there's something there that I want to go and face. I want to make sure that I scratch that off the list. I think the main thing will be that first surf. I probably won't be getting up at dark and getting out there before the sun gets up anymore," notes Fanning.

"I think it's more about jumping in and surfing once or twice, and then I'll be fine. It's the same thing as when I came back and surfed Snapper for the first time. You're a little bit wary, and it's in the back of your mind, but you get to a point where you start to feel comfortable again."

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