|Three-time World Champion Fanning Returns to Competition
Fans eagerly awaited Rip Curl wildcard Mick Fanning’s (AUS) competitive return at North Narrabeen in Heat 6 of Round 1, his first time back in a CT jersey since retiring from full-time competition in 2018. Coincidentally, Fanning came up against reigning World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA), who he competed against in his last heat back in 2018, along with Aussie rookie Morgan Cibilic. Three-time World Champion Fanning had his work cut out for him as Ferreira posted the highest two-wave combination of the day with his trademark display of aerial and sharp surfing. Fanning was unable to find his winning rhythm and will take his chances again in the Elimination Round when competition resumes.
“It’s amazing to see all of these fans down here,” said Fanning. “I was actually quite emotional as I ran down the beach before paddling out hearing all of the cheers and seeing all the smiling faces. I’m really disappointed I didn’t put on more of a show though. It was always going to be such a tough task against Italo (Ferreira) and Morgan (Cibilic), they got first and third at the last event so are in epic form. I’m just hoping in my next heat I can get a bit more opportunity and put on more of a show.”
“I have great memories with Mick (Fanning) and it is always a pleasure to surf with him,” said Ferreira. “I was excited for that heat and to put everything on game. I hope I can keep going and pushing the limit. It is hard out there, the swell is the other direction so it makes the waves kind of close out, but sometimes it is good. My board is fast so I can make the closeouts. I am so excited for the next challenge.”