BREAKING NEWS: Two-time ASP World Champion, Aussie Mick Fanning, has somewhat sensationally pulled out of the upcoming Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
Suffering from a neck injury, Mick, who has won 13 World Tour events over his nine-year career on the elite tour (including one as a wildcard), has sighted “neck injury” as his reason for pulling the pin. The decision to stay home on the far north coast of New South Wales and recover was one he didn’t take lightly. “It’s just one of those things,” he told Tracksmag.com today. “It (the injury) is going to take time to heal – and its not helping surfing everyday”. Mick, currently sitting a somewhat lowly eleventh place (compared to his normal standards) on the world rankings, went on to explain how long it’s been bothering him. “I’ve had it since Tahiti – I’ve tried a few different things to fix it but (we’ve come to the conclusion) the only thing that will work is rest.”
Rest isn’t a word used in reference to Mick and his surfing very often, if ever. He’s one of the most physically and mentally prepared surfers to ever don a jersey – his whip cracking speed and high-powered agility has seen him either at or near the top year after year. Not since he ripped his hamstring off the bone during an in innocuous forehand floater gone wrong in 2004 have we seen the man they call White lighting on the bench for a extended period of time. We asked how serious this injury is? “It’s actually a bulged disc”, explained Mick. “I’ll take some time off and get some flexibility and strength back in there and be ready to go next year.”
Knowing Mick he will be back, and after a fairly grueling back half of the year, will no doubt be fresh from the time off at home. In the manner of a true sportsman Mick, having seen the writing on the wall, contacted the ASP as soon as he’d made the tough decision, “I thought I’d give those guys (ASP) enough time to sort out a replacement.”
Photo: The man in black, Mick cruising in Portugal for the Rip Curl Pro. pic: ASP/Kirstin Article: Col B Tracks Magazine