- WSL / Ed Sloane

NARRABEEN, New South Wales, Australia (Friday, April 9, 2021) - Three-time Surfing World Champion Mick Fanning has been awarded the event wildcard for the upcoming Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic presented by Corona, the third stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT).

"I am excited to be back in a jersey," said Fanning. "I haven't really had a challenge in the last few years. I injured my knee in 2019 and then have been working towards getting a level of fitness and level of surfing that I was happy with. I've been training and working to get my knee back to one-hundred percent. I wanted to get my surfing back to a level that I was happy with, as well. I feel like I am getting there. I've been working pretty hard in the last few months just personally, and then having this goal to be ready for this event has definitely kickstarted a bit of fire in there."

Fanning's event wildcard at Narrabeen will not only mark his first CT event since retiring in 2018 but 20 years since winning his first CT event - as a wildcard - at the 2001 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

"One of the reasons why I chose Narrabeen was because if I came back at a place like J-Bay or a place like Bells, there would be probably more expectation for me to do well," continued Fanning. "Events like those were staples in my World Title campaigns. Narrabeen is probably not, a left hand beach break and when you are going up against guys like Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreria in lefts, I don't have the weapons they have. I think that was more of the challenge to me. The expectation goes out the window once I go to an event like Narrabeen."

Prior to his retirement, Fanning spent 17 years competing on the elite CT. His illustrious tenure includes 22 Championship Tour victories and three World Titles, cementing him as one of the greatest surfers and sportsmen in history.

Fanning was awarded the event wildcard through the event's title partner, Rip Curl. Laura Enever and Dylan Moffat have also been awarded wildcard entries for Narrabeen through the North Narrabeen Boardriders Club. All event wildcards will await the final results from the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona to determine their heat matchups for the opening round at Narrabeen.

The event window for the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona opens April 16 and holds a competition window through April 26. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.

More information available at WorldSurfLeague.com.

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