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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 1 March 2018

Will Julian Wilson be ready for Snapper Rocks in nine days time after his MTB injury, or will Mikey February be on the world tour from as early as the first event? Spike speculates.


SERENDIPITY: And so it comes to pass: another African on the world tour. Photo WSL / Sherman

So Mick Fanning will retire from the WSL tour after the second event, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, and Mikey February's dream has come true. As first replacement for the tour, Mikey officially makes his debut at the next event: the Margaret River Pro.

Three-time WSL Champion Fanning will surf the first two events of the season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Bells, but after that he is officially out. In a moving announcement across social media platforms, he cites a loss in the "drive to compete day-in day-out".

Depending on the severity of this injury - and a rupture is serious - recovery takes at least six weeks or moreHowever, everyone is madly speculating that Julian Wilson will not be ready after rupturing the AC (Acromioclavicular Joint) in his shoulder after a MTB accident when he went over the handlebars while 'training' in Glenrock Nature Preserve, near Newcastle, Australia. A few days ago, he auctioned his Specialized Stumpjumper for charity, so perhaps his MTB days are over.

Depending on the severity of this injury - and a rupture is serious - recovery takes at least six weeks or more, with a carefully managed rehab to get you back to normal. This type of injury must be 100% before you return to action to avoid damaging your ligaments by straining the scar tissue.

Wilson hurt his shoulder on 27 January. Snapper starts 11 March, which is exactly six weeks. It's touch and go for Mikey, but apparently he has been asked to be at Snapper just in case - sounds quite possible that Mikey will surf almost, if not all, of the events.


It’s time. I’ve decided the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be my last event as a full-time competitor on the World Surf League Championship Tour. The tour has given me so much but I need a fresh challenge. I still love the game but can’t find the motivation and dedication required to compete for World Titles anymore. My time on tour has been incredibly rewarding and I have so many amazing memories, all of which wouldn’t be possible without some very special people... My Mum, Dad, Sister and Brothers. I love you. My sponsors that have stood by me and continue to back my goals. My shaper Darren Handley and his entire team for the care and hard work they put into every single one of my boards. My fellow competitors on tour, you are like brothers and sisters to me. My very tight support crew that have been there in good and tough times, thank you for always being honest with me. And thanks to the fans and everyone that has encouraged me and cheered me on for all these years. I’m looking forward to life away from the tour while keeping a close eye on things. I’m so proud of our sport and the way it continues to evolve. The performance level on the Championship Tour and the Big Wave Tour is remarkable. I can’t wait to watch it all go down as one of the sport’s biggest fans. I’m also looking forward to evolving my own surfing in new ways, visiting unfamiliar places and taking on different experiences. I will be competing at the opening event at home on the Gold Coast and then wrapping things up at the Rip Curl Pro. Bells Beach is where my Championship Tour career really kicked off, I’ve always loved the place and it seems a fitting stop to finish things up. It’s gonna be a big fun party and you’re all invited to come. Hope I see you there. Cheers and thanks for the memories. Mick @ripcurl_aus @redbullau @reef @dhdsurf @dragonalliance @creaturesofleisure @vertra @fcs_surf @skullcandy @mercedesbenzvans_au @opkix @grapes @mfsoftboards @balterbrewers

A post shared by Mick Fanning (@mfanno) on Feb 28, 2018 at 12:25am PST

In May last year, when Mikey February was cooking with gas in the World Surf League's Qualifying Series, I asked him: "And the million dollar question: Are you going to be on the CT next year!?"

He replied: "Just focused on surfing every heat and event to the best of my ability and learning along the way. But thats the goal!"

Well, the home-grown Cape Town surfer has just achieved his goal. As personal a triumph as that might be, it is also a profound and historic moment for South Africa that cannot be understated.

For starters, his arrival on the tour helps to plug the decades-long lack of South Africans on the world tour. May that trend continue.


WHAT IT TAKES: He may be a rookie, but he has BMT in bucket loads. Photo WSL / Poullenot

But, to become the first black South African to surf on the WSL Championship Tour? Wow. That's something. Can you imagine the inspirational power this will bring to bear on surfing development, a matter that is close to his heart anyway. Fantastic stuff.

As someone said on his Instagram feed said last year when it looked like he would drop off the replacement list: "It's better to have a unique line, approach and style like you have. Obviously you deserved already to be there this year. I think it's just a matter of time and you reach it. Positive Vibes from Portugal."

2013 PipeWT3_Credit-World-Surf-League

#CHEERSMICK: Mick Fanning wins the Pipeline Masters in 2013. Photo WSL / Keoki

Fanning first joined the Tour in 2002 after he won his first CT event as a wildcard entry at the 2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. It is fitting that he ends it there. It is also fitting that the veteran bows out and the next in line Mikey Feb, who was at Gary's Surf School learning to surf in 2002, is the guy who steps in to take his place.

Mikey and Mick have a lot of respect for each other, and Mick has often proferred his advice, while also be a generous donor to surfing development in South Africa.

Apparently, Mick will continue to work with the WSL in an Ambassadorial role where he will support the WSL’s ocean health platform PURE, surfing development and various other projects.


Dustin Brown
0 #1 MrDustin Brown 2018-03-04 10:49
So stoked for Mikey and South Africa at the same time! Will be sending him positive vibes from home for all his heats! Bring your flavor to the game Mikey!
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@SurferBuzz The horse bolted a while ago already
@MattiTaylor This is from guys who surfed it. Wasn't big but definitely long period NW direction
Lakey Peterson and Julian Wilson have won the Roxy Pro and Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in pumping 6-10ft barrels at K… https://t.co/mXiKE20MsU
How's the mystery NW swell that's running down the west coast right now? Cape Town surfers have been enjoying some… https://t.co/v4xRPAISUn

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