In 2005, the Inaugural Rip Curl Pro Search contest was held at St. Leu, Reunion Island. After winning the first event of the season on the Gold Coast, Mick Fanning went on to win the event over Phil McDonald in a hard-fought final at the pumping left-hand reef break.
This was the Championship Tour's last visit to Reunion Island, where surfing has been banned since 2013 due to persistent shark incidents. Here are three reasons the event will go down in history, and why you should watch it right now.
First Rip Curl Search Event
The 2005 Rip Curl Pro Search Reunion Island was the first Search event, marking the start of an iconic series of competitive destinations that took pro surfers to new stops each year. Some noteworthy locations include San Francisco, New York, Bali, Chile, and Mexico.
When Rip Curl started in 1969, the founders were most inspired by the endless pursuit to surf the world's best waves, an all too familiar feeling we get as surfers. This principal stuck with them, and eventually Rip Curl decided to base their entire company off of The Search.
Fun fact: Rip Curl was the first company to sponsor a professional surfing event - the 1973 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.
Mick Fanning's Win Over Phil McDonald
A massive SW swell hit Reunion Island for the 2005 Rip Curl Pro Search which took place at the end of June. St-Leu, specifically saw world-class conditions for the final when Mick Fanning took out
In 2005, Mick Fanning surfed his seventh year on Tour, which was also his jersey number. While he didn't win the World Title that year, Fanning finished the season at No. 3 in the rankings just under Kelly Slater and Andy Irons. Two years later, in 2007, Mick Fanning finally took his first World Title, eventually going on to win 2 more before retiring in 2018.
Surfing And Swimming Now Banned On Reunion Island
In 2013, the government of Reunion Island banned surfing and swimming on the Island for the protection of surfers, residents, and tourists. The island is known as one of the sharkiest regions in the world, with 7 fatal shark attacks from 2011 to 2015.
Since then, shark nets and monitoring have been put into full effect in an effort to fully re-open ocean activities to the public. As it stands, surfing is still forbidden, though many still go at their own risk.