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Mick Fanning opens up on his return and why he "hates" famous West Oz break


Mick Fanning is set to make his professional return to surfing this weekend in the World Surf League’s Narrabeen Classic.

Fanning, 39, made the shock announcement after accepting an invitation from his sponsor Rip Curl to appear in the event.

While he retired from the tour in 2018 on his own terms, the three-time world champion is making the one-off return as he wants to compete in front of his young family for the first time.

Small swell on Sydney’s Northern Beaches meant Friday was deemed a lay day so Fanning joined SEN WA’s Gilly and Goss to discuss the event.

“I had a feeling it (the event) was going to be off, last night the waves were pretty small and today it was dead flat,” Fanning said.

“A lay day is pretty good at the moment, I’ve been so busy so it gives me a day to put things in order and get a plan set.”

Fanning confirmed that the Rip Curl Classic would be the only event he’ll appear in this year and admitted his return to peak fitness level has been a challenge.

“I think at the moment it’s a one-off, I’m definitely not joining the tour, that’s for sure,” he added.

“For me it was a bit of a challenge, having the baby was amazing but I also hurt my knee a couple of years ago and never thought I was 100 per cent because I never had a goal to get to – I’d always find a niggle here or there.

“This was a good challenge to get myself back to peak fitness and, in a place where I felt I could push my body again in the water.”

With the tour set to head to the west coast of Australia thereafter Fanning was asked if he’d consider taking a wildcard spot at either the Margaret River Pro or Rottnest Island Search event.

“To be really honest, I actually hate the main break at Margaret River,” Fanning said.

“I don’t think I’ll ever paddle out there (Margaret River) again in my life.

“I used to like it as a kid but as I got older I don’t know, it’s just a long paddle and over the last few years I never had great surfs out there – so I just said, 'Stuff it, I won’t go out there because I come back grumpy'.

“If it was at the ‘Box’ or at North Point (other breaks in the area), then yeah, I’d consider it. But as I’ve said, I’ll probably never paddle out to the main break at Margaret River again.

“I love the area though, I was over there about a month ago visiting friends. I love the waves around that wave, but that one break in particular, it’s done nothing for me."

Fanning’s opening heat at Narrabeen will be against Australian Morgan Cibilic and Brazilian Italo Ferreira.

2019 World Champion Ferreira will prove a tough opponent after he claimed the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup over easter.

Listen to the full chat with Fanning below.

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