Danny Wills at Byron's Pass.
Danny Wills at Byron's Pass. Byron Bay Surfboard Co/www.mcsurf.com.au

Surfer's chance to bid farewell at home

IT’S neither the shortest retirement in surfing history, or the comeback story of the year, but yesterday Byron Bay’s Danny Wills confirmed he will line-up in the first pro tour event of the year – the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

Wills stressed his wildcard entry was simply a ‘one off’ and not a permanent return to the tour. It was also a good chance to say farewell to his fans on home soil.

The 33-year-old announced his retirement from the pro tour in November last year following his exit from the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii.

But now he’s back again, popping up for the 2009 tour opener on the Gold Coast, which will be held from February 27 to March 11.

“I really just thought it would be nice to end it closer to home rather than Hawaii,” Wills said.

“It’s just going to be this one event, I don’t think I am going to be doing too many more, and Quiksilver are going to have a big retirement party for me up there and it will be a good chance to say thanks to everyone that has helped me over the years.”

What sort of shape he will be in, is another matter, as he has been enjoying the good life since dropping out and staying home with his wife and kids over Christmas.

“It has been full on, because it has been school holidays with the kids, but it has also been unreal,” he said.

“I’ve been enjoying myself, not watching the diet, and having a few beers at night. It has been really laid back.”

Wills, who took part in the Australia Day paddle out in Byron Bay yesterday, said he would probably take part in a few local surf events ‘down the track’ just to ‘keep his profile up’, but there are no plans for a full-oncomeback.

He says there will be ‘no pressure’ on him to perform at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.
“I’ll get back into training for it on February 1, but I have still been surfing a whole bunch, and I’ve had a lot of good waves,” he said.

“I’ll need a couple of weeks to tune-up and I’ll probably benefit from being away from the tour, because I will be relaxed and not putting any pressure on myself.”

What Wills will find hardest is watching the tour move on without him after the Gold Coast.
 “I’m really hoping to enjoy it, but I’ll probably feel it when everyone moves on to Bells and I am not. That will be when it hits me,” he said.

“But I really don’t feel like going back on tour at all and I’m glad because I feel I made the right decision.”

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