Mick atop the board that buckled his knee. Photo by Alan Van Gysen
Mick Fanning Tears ACL; Sidelined For Six To 12 Months
Knee-melting patented wrap filming for Stab in the Dark.
On Saturday morning at a rivermouth on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Mick Fanning exited a decent frontside tube, steered his board up the face and opened the shoulders for his frontside wrap we’ve all seen so many times before.
At the turn's twenty percent mark, his knee buckled and he fell over the front of his board. He winced in pain as he came up from underwater.
He refused help, hobbling up the beach and played down the injury. “Yeah, I think I might be done,” he says. “I mighta cooked me knee.”
Train hard, fight easy: Mick Fanning is always professional and always prepared. He may not be the most sartorial elegant here but definitely prepared for the four degrees morning chill nonetheless.
A few hours later his knee was the size of a small football and it turns out the injury was significant. An ACL tear that will leave him out of the water for six to 12 months. Mick texted through the official prognosis later on: “Surgery is a must and then looks like 6-12 months of rehab. 1-2 weeks of immobility after surgery then cyborg kicks into rehab haha. I’ll go back to psycho training mode for a bit, get my bikini body looking crypt for summer hahah.”
Last time Mick sustained a major injury was when he ripped his hamstring from the bone after a floater in Indonesia in 2004. The injury and subsequent comeback is often regarded as the catalyst for Mick's three world titles.
Anyways, Mick had been in South Africa for just 24 hours. He was here to surf alongside Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith for this year’s Stab in the Dark. This year, the surfer we had slated had to pull out with injury, so we changed our plans and decided to create a kinda all-stars edition for our fifth year of SITD.
Rather than invite 12 shapers from around the world, we took the six best performing shapers from our previous iterations and invited back our four previous test pilots. Each surfer would ride six surfboards, each with an almost-identical board scaled to their size. Our original fourth surfer, Julian Wilson, had to pull out.
In the 24 hours Mick was South Africa, he had tested three of the six boards. His third was the board of two-time winner, Jon Pyzel. Mick would later text Pyzel’s marquee talent, John Florence, and suggested model be named the “Knee jerker”.
A running right sandbank? Mick was obviously very comfortable out here before his knee melted.
Mick had arrived in on Friday and by Sunday morning, he was back at home on the Gold Coast. He’d ridden 80 waves on only half of the Stab in the Dark boards we’d needed to test. We figured he wouldn’t have a result for this year’s contest but we were proven wrong when he sent the following through:
“Make sure you keep that XXXXXXXXX for me. That’s the winner. I want to ride that the moment I’m back in the water.”