Out of retirement and back on top.
This is the year veterans are dominating, Nadal proved age is just another number while Mick Fanning came out of retirement, ‘Brady style’ to reclaim his Atlantean throne. Fanning defeated the Japanese world number one, Kanoa Igarashi in the World Surf League Bells Beach showdown. The pair went toe to toe, wave after wave in a showdown that would prove the four-time champion has much more to give. Fanning, who has faced everyone’s nightmare, encountering a great white shark while surfing, had definitively called it time in the ocean.
Igarashi needed 8.94 to defeat the 40-year-old Australian, but with the score delivered after the close of the heat, he only managed 8.0. Fanning’s combined total for his best two waves was 15.77 to his rival’s 14.83. Fanning won at Bells Beach in 2001 as a wildcard and again in 2018.
“As a wildcard, you want to come in and put on a performance,” said Fanning, who was swamped by fans on the beach. “Going up against the world No 1 I had nothing to lose, I just came here to have fun.” Mick Fanning
Fanning rode six waves within thirty minutes, expressing he was ‘gassed’ by the end of his dual with rival Kanoa Igarashi. Fanning admitted his fitness levels weren’t where he had hoped, which begs the question. What more can the undisputed champion of the sea accomplish with some more work as he returns from retirement?
“I didn’t realise my fitness level wasn’t up to it,” he said. “This old boy ain’t fit.” Mick Fanning
Check out the highlights below and revel in the glory of Mick Fanning’s return.