Mick Fanning Returns To The World Tour Full Time
“I’m coming into 2017 seeded 18th which will be a change for me.”
In the announcement currently making its round through Instagram, text messages and a WSL press release, Mick Fanning is returning to the 2017 tour full-time. After his quasi-hiatus during 2016 which followed the J-Bay shark incident, his brother’s death on the eve of the Pipe Masters, love-life turmoil, becoming an Officer of the Order Of Australia, and surpassing Kelly Slater as the most widely known board rider of today’s generation, he’s declared, “I want to be in the race again.”
“2015 was a tough year,” Mick told the WSL. “A lot happened to me on camera and in my personal life. I felt exhausted by the end of it. Fortunately, I was in a position to step away from the Tour and have some time to myself. I ended up doing a few events and qualifying which was great because I didn’t want to take the wildcard off of Bede (Durbidge) or Owen (Wright). I’m coming into 2017 seeded 18th which will be a change for me.”
Here Mick exhibits the joyousness in down the line drive at J-Bay.
“Even with the 2017 season looming, I wasn’t sure I was motivated enough to take part,” he continued. “However, like everyone else I’m getting super excited about this year’s line-up of surfers – it might be the best field from the top seed to number 34 we’ve ever had.”
This announcement comes a little over a week before the waiting period at Snapper, and Mick (going for his 4th) and Kelly (his 12th title) are lurking behind the black and white spaces of John Florence and Gabriel Medina. With Kolohe Andino coming into form, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, Joel Parko and after Matty Wilko’s shocking start to last season we may (hopefully) see a title race of three generations on the CT. For Kelly, at 45, it revels it that ole surfing keeps you young bit.
After so much drama prior to the 2015 Pipe Master, where Mick is pictured here, he didn’t make the annual voyage to the North Shore last season. As 2015’s race came down to a semi-final heat vs Gabriel Medina, 2016 saw Mr Florence take the title in Portugal, leaving the Pipe Masters a rather unexcited event, unless you were trying to requalify.
“If Mick (Fanning) is in 100% I’d put him right at the top of the heap,” Slater said. “You’d be silly to not think Mick is Top 3 in the world right now. All things considered. Having won at so many different breaks and being so dominant at places like Bells and Jeffreys Bay, there’s no way he’s not a contender.”
The Quiksilver Gold Pro Coast kicks off March 14th–yup, it’s that time of the year again. Start placing your bets, if you’re into that sort thing.
“It was nice to have 2016 off somewhat and decompress, but I’m excited to put the singlet on again.”
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