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Mick Fanning’s First Surf Back At J-Bay

All photos by Corey Wilson

I was with Mick in Australia when he saw two really good swells lining up for J-Bay before the event waiting period, so we hopped on a last minute flight straight from the Gold Coast, even though that meant we’d be arriving a week before the contest starts.

This morning, Mick’s first day back since July of last year, he was so excited to be here. We woke up really early and checked the waves in front of our house at Supertubes and, although the swell was meant to be pumping, the waves were pretty small. A local guy mentioned the last few swells have been half day late, so we headed inside to wait it out.

Mick got all his boards together and we went for breakfast and coffee. After breakfast we walked down to the beach to have a look, and though Mick seemed excited to get in the water, I could tell he was a little bit nervous — his hands were shaking. I know he really wanted to get that first surf out of the way and just calm his nerves after what happened the last time he was in the water out here. I can imagine it’s a mental hurdle he really wanted to put in the past. A couple hours later, when the waves picked up, he started getting ready to head out and things got intense. I could feel this crazy energy in the house — we were hanging in his room and I had to go downstairs because the mood was so tense. It was the exact same feeling I got from him in Hawaii when he was getting ready to surf a heat for the world title. Then, when he joined me downstairs, he realized how weird the vibe got and we had a good laugh about it, and after that he seemed to settle in and enjoy the idea of surfing J-Bay again.

We headed outside and he jumped in the water for the first time. He ripped the shit out of the first wave, and came back to the beach to do the runaround with the biggest smile. He ended up surfing for about another hour and by the end it was like nothing had ever happened –Corey Wilson