Mick Fanning Returns to WSL Championship Tour: “I want to be a part of the race”
The 3x World Champ is back on tour in 2017, full-time.
Today, 3x World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning announces his return to full-time competition on the elite WSL Championship Tour in 2017.
“I’ve decided to come back to competition full time and do the tour this season,” Mick says. “It was nice to have 2016 off somewhat and decompress, but I’m excited to put the singlet on again."
The iconic Australian stepped back from full-time competition last year following a 2015 season that witnessed the world-famous shark attack at the J-Bay Open, the loss of his older brother Peter and an emotional runner-up finish to the title race. Mick reflects…
“2015 was a tough year. A lot happened to me on camera and in my personal life. I just 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 my Rip Curl teammate Owen Wright. But now I’m coming into 2017 seeded 18th, which will be a change for me.”
The decision to return to the tour in 2017 wasn’t one that Fanning took lightly, but the caliber of surfers taking part on the Championship Tour this season proved motivation enough.
“For a while there I wasn’t sure I was motivated enough to take part in the 2017 season. But, like everyone else, I’ve slowly but surely gotten super excited about the line-up of surfers this year – it might be the best field from the top seed to number 34 that we’ve ever had. I also think it’s the biggest group of legit title contenders we’ve ever seen on the tour, and I want to be part of the race."
With 22 elite CT wins to his name and three WSL Titles, Fanning is one of the most accomplished surfers to ever grace the sport, but the lightning-fast natural-footer believes he has more to accomplish.
"The most important thing, to me, is making sure that my surfing keeps evolving – and the tour, now more than ever, is the best place to do that. In recent years I managed to find a good balance between competitive focus and having fun. Getting switched on for events this year will be the key for me. I don’t think it will be a problem. It’s not in my nature to be half-hearted, so now that I’m committed I’ll be doing everything I can to get a win.”
Alongside the world’s best surfers, Mick Fanning will kick off the 2017 WSL Championship Tour season on Australia’s Gold Coast, from March 14 - 25, 2017.
Mick Fanning Returns to WSL Championship Tour