Mick Fanning took out Jacob Wilcox in round three of the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal. Photo: Kirsten Scholtz /ASP
Mick Fanning took out Jacob Wilcox in round three of the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal. Photo: Kirsten Scholtz /ASP

Surfing champ to marry model sweetheart

TWEED golden couple Mick Fanning and Karissa Dalton will tie the knot today at a lavish ceremony on the Gold Coast. The event marks the latest milestone for the newly crowned world surfing champion.

Fanning will wed his model fiance in front of a close circle of family and friends in a rumoured private ceremony followed by a reception at luxurious Nerang estate The Villa.

The Riverview Road property, which promotes itself as "one of the most exclusive wedding venues in Queensland", boasts a golf course, landscaped gardens, lakes and a classical mansion, and has been host to a number of celebrity weddings in recent years.

The who's who of surfing's elite are expected to attend the early 1900s-themed event, with Joel Parkinson and former world champion Mark Occhilupo among the 200-strong guest list.

However, the couple will have to hold-off on plans for a romantic%honeymoon, with Fanning jetting off to contest the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach the day after the nuptials. Details of the wedding yesterday remained shrouded in secrecy, with the couple reportedly signing an exclusive magazine deal with New Idea.

Ms Dalton did not return calls yesterday, but Fanning hinted at the wedding's location in an appearance on Channel Nine's Footy Show on Thursday, letting it slip he'd jump in the lake if his bride-to-be didn't show up on the day. Ms Dalton will don an Alex Perry gown for the occasion.

The renowned fashion designer has dressed some of the world's most beautiful women including Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer.

Ms Dalton, a Bond University film production graduate, first met her surfer beau through mutual friends in 2004. Fanning proposed to his sweetheart on Kirra Hill in October 2006, presenting her with a square diamond solitaire ring set in white gold.

Kirra Hill holds special significance to Fanning, being the site of a memorial to his late brother Sean, who died with good mate Joel Green in a 1998 car accident in Boundary Street.

The surprise proposal came on a whirlwind stopover between surfing commitments, with Fanning buying the ring enroute in Singapore.

Ms Dalton, who juggles university study with her modelling commitments, has made no secret of her own career ambitions.

The brunette stunner was a finalist in both the 2007 Inside Sport Model Search and plans to pursue work in film production.

Fanning was crowned world champion last November, becoming the first Australian to claim surfing's top prize since 1999. The win followed a near career-ending injury which left him out of the water for most of 2004.

Speaking to the Tweed Daily News following her son's historic achievement, Fanning's mum Liz Osborne acknowledged Ms Dalton's influence.

"He's more fulfilled in his life now and very much in love," Ms Osborne said. "Karissa is a person that grounds him; she's just a beautiful person and we're very grateful to her for that."

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