Fanning to make shock WSL comeback

Three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning will come out of retirement to compete as a wildcard as this month's WSL leg in Narrabeen.

MICK FANNING. Picture: Drew Ryan/Getty Images

Mick Fanning will come out of retirement as a wildcard at this month's third World Surf League leg in Narrabeen.

The three-time world champion left the tour in 2018 but has been contemplating a cameo over the last year, only for the coronavirus pandemic to scupper any attempts at a return.

He's committed to the Narrabeen event from April 16 though, announcing his intentions during the broadcast of the Newcastle Cup round of 16 on Friday.

"I'd been tossing up doing another event ... last year I was looking at doing J Bay, then the pandemic hit and then this year it would have been 20 years at Bells and it got cancelled," the 39-year-old said.

"It's like 'it's now or never, I'm not getting any younger' so why not."

Fanning collected world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2013 before surviving a shark attack while competing at Jeffreys Bay in 2015.

Chasing a fifth Bells Beach title in his final event in 2018, Fanning was pipped in the final by Brazil's Italo Ferreira.

"To see the passion that Italo had when he did win, I knew I didn't have the same passion (anymore)," Fanning said.

"I'm just going to go and give it my all and maybe upset someone but the guys are so good right now, I'm not holding my breath."