It appears that a second Aussie favorite will not be competing for the Vans Triple Crown this winter, as Mick Fanning has pulled out of the Billabong Pipeline Masters due to a nagging neck injury.
According to a recent article at Tracksmag.com, 2007 and 2009 ASP World Champ, Mick Fanning has been quietly dealing with a bulged disk since the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Fanning has reportedly determined that the only effective treatment at this point will be rest. The Pipe Masters is the last event of the ASP World Tour, so Fanning will essentially have until the start of the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro on Feb. 25, 2012 to heal.
"It's just one of those things," he told the Australian surf magazine Monday, "It is going to take time to heal -- and it's not helping surfing everyday."
Fanning did not head out to Hawaii with most Vans Triple Crown hopefuls this month. He did not compete in the Reef Hawaiian Pro and is not surfing in the Vans World Cup of Surfing, currently running at Sunset Beach. Fanning is at his home in New South Wales. He is currently ranked No. 11 on the World Tour and will fall further after the Pipe Masters. This will be his first finish outside the Top 10 since joining the tour in 2002.
Earlier this month, fellow Coolangatta native Joel Parkinson announced he would not be surfing the full Triple Crown either, citing a need for time off. Parkinson, however, will surf the Pipe Masters.
Fanning, who is regular Twitter user, has been active on the social networking site, but has not commented on his injury or plans. The ASP will not likely be able to announce Fanning's injury replacement until after the Vans World Cup, although Floridian CJ Hobgood and Aussie Kai Otten are possible candidates. The Billabong Pipline Masters runs Dec 8-20.