By World Surf League writers
This may sound strange, but the ankle injury tweed champion surfer Mick Fanning suffered the day after he arrived at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa might just be a blessing.
After all, his highly anticipated return to the scene of last year’s shark encounter had global media in a frenzy.
Day 1 of the J-Bay Open was filled with incredible performances as the full spectrum of Championship Tour stars returned to Supertubes.
In fact, the story of his return appeared on the front page of the New York Times website Wednesday.
And while Mick’s camp has been flooded with media inquiries, the whole shark thing has already taken a back seat to his damaged wheel — which is good thing.
But by Wednesday it was time to put his ankle fears to rest, just as he did last week with the sharks.
Turns out, Fanning’s semi-retirement seed placed him in the very first heat of the event, and he wasted no time making every Fantasy Surfing player who ran away from him wish there was some kind of ‘undo’ button.
Heat 7 went down to the wire with all three surfers scoring last-minute rides, but Kelly Slater got the best of it.
The ankle looked fine. Not even J-Bay’s frigid cold was affecting it. And it was damn cold.
But low temperatures are a welcome sign in these parts. If the wind is strong southwest, as it was this morning, there’s always a good chance of waves, but when it gets really cold, the chances are even better. Coldness keeps the optimism up.
Day 1 of the J-Bay Open began with Mick Fanning returning to form at Supertubes, and picked up from there.
Mick Fanning had his hands full with Conner Coffin and Alejo Muniz joining him in his Round One match.
But as soon as he stood up his smooth and flowing style was on full display. There was no nursing of the ankle. Mick flowed, taking his usual high lines across J-Bay’s long walls and soaking up the speed.
Fanning handled the ensuing media attention with aplomb, confidently greeting the locals and smiling all the way through the long line of journalists waiting for him.