Surfing: Fanning ready for Jeffery's Bay return

Mick Fanning is set to return after a break from surfing. Photo / WSL
Mick Fanning is set to return after a break from surfing. Photo / WSL

Mick Fanning has declared himself "ready to go" for his return to surfing at Jeffery's Bay, scene of his clash with a great white shark last year.

The three-time world champion arrived in South Africa late last week in a bid to get his first surf in the waves he loves "out of the way".

He cleared that hurdle, after some early anxiety, and proceeded to surf his fears away.

But late last week he strained a ligament in his ankle and was forced in to a moonboot leading in to the J-Bay Open in South Africa, which starts Wednesday.

He underwent round the clock rehab until Tuesday when he got back in the water, and went "better than expected" on his still hurt ankle.

With locals even spruiking the return of the "shark puncher", Fanning was desperate to take his place in the event and will be in the first heat when action gets underway.

"Ankle will hopefully hold in for the event, had a surf on it this morning and went better than expected," Fanning said. "Super excited to go again."

He didn't attend the pre-event press conference in J-Bay on Tuesday night where World Surf League Commissioner Kieran Perrow revealed the lengths organisers had gone to in order to avoid a repeat of last year's shark attack.

Sonar buoys have been placed in the water, aerial surveillance will be increased and communication protocols have been developed in order for early detection of any shark activity anywhere near the iconic point break.

"In the last few years we have seen a lot more (shark) activity globally anyway so it was going to come to a point where we had to address it," Perrow told the Herald Sun.

"We're super fortunate at how that played out ... it was super lucky and a wake up call in some ways.

"We have looked at what we do at a lot of places pull together some stronger plans, especially here and other places in the world that have a higher risk.

"We just put some measures in place to make them feel more comfortable in the ocean. "

Perrow said Fanning had been instrumental in the event returning to J-Bay after last year's incident and was delighted Fanning had also returned, along with Julian Wilson, who was surfing against Fanning when we he was attacked last year.

The event is expected to start on time on Wednesday with good swell for the first two days, with even better waves expected for the weekend.

-news.com.au

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