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Surfing Australia

Why Mick Fanning is coming out of retirement at 39

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The event will see the veteran surfer come up against Brazil’s 2019 world champion Italo Ferreira, who won the Newcastle Pro last week.

Australian surfing legend Mick Fanning shocked the world last week when he announced he would be coming out of retirement.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Having undergone surgery for an ACL injury in recent years, Fanning said the aim of competing is to prove he can still surf at a level that pleases him.

“I have been floating along for the last few years,” he said. “I’ve been doing rehab, but never felt like I got back to 100 per cent.

“The pressure is just on me to perform; the last thing I want to do is go out there and embarrass myself.”

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For many competitors, events in Australia are helping preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, starting in July.

Hawaiian four-time world champion Carissa Moore said the Narrabeen contest had come at a perfect time, with the Olympics now feeling more set in stone. The Tokyo Games will feature surfing for the first time.

“I haven’t let myself think about it so much because it has been so uncertain [due to COVID-19] but we are now getting emails about how things are going to run,” she said.

For Australian rookie Isabella Nichols, who produced the biggest upset of the Newcastle Cup by knocking out seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, said she still feels like “the underdog”. “I like surprising people,” she said.

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