Mick Fanning 'relaxed' at shark attack site
SURFING: It was the scene of a nightmare attack but Mick Fanning says he now feels "relaxed" and "at home" in the waters where he was attacked by a shark in South Africa.
And Fanning is hoping Jeffreys Bay, the scene of his terrifying shark attack in 2015, helps breathe life back into his bid for a fourth world crown.
The winner at J-Bay last year - just 12 months after his close encounter with a shark at the same venue - has failed to progress further than a quarter-final on the World Surf League this year.
But despite the attack while he was surfing against fellow Australian Julian Wilson in the 2015 final of the J-Bay Open, Fanning said he always feels at his best at the South African surfing spot.
"I really feel at home here and so comfortable and relaxed," Fanning said.
"The people are so nice and the wave is amazing.
"When you come to a wave you love then the excitement levels really goes up and I feel much more motivated.
"I get up early in the dark each morning to check the surf and I can't wait for things to get underway. This is a place that I really look forward to each year."
Fanning is up against Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz and French surfer Joan Duru in his opening heat of the J-Bay, the sixth leg of the men's world tour.
The triple world champion is languishing in 13th place after two fifths, two 13ths and a 25th in his full-time comeback to the world tour.
He needs a top result in South Africa to put him back in the mix for a fourth world crown.
Great mate Matt Wilkinson leads the championship tour heading into J-Bay with reigning world champion John Florence from Hawaii a close second.
When the event commences former world champion Joel Parkinson will surf against Brazilians Wiggolly Dantas and Miguel Pupo in the opening heat.