Occy can?t give up

By ADAM WRATTEN

FORMER world champion Mark Occhilupo has shelved retirement plans after a disappointing year to compete on next year's World Championship Tour.

The Tweed surfer announced in February his intention to retire after the current season to spend more time with his family.

However, after failing to achieve his goals this season Occhilupo has reconsidered his decision.

"I have made the decision to go around again should I qualify," Occhilupo said from Hawaii yesterday.

"I am pretty sure that it will be for one more year and then I will retire."

Occhilupo, who won the world championship in 2001, said he did not regret his decision to announce his retirement at the start of the year.

"Not at all. At the time, I thought it was the best decision but once I got back on the tour and some of my results at my favourite breaks were not as good as I had hoped, I really wanted to end on a good note," the 39-year-old said.

"Overall, it hasn't been one of my best years. In some of the contests I was really firing but others I just didn't get it together.

"I still have more to do on the tour."

Occhilupo said support from other top surfers helped persuade him to carry on.

"They raised some really good points but deep down, I was already thinking that maybe I could go another year," he said.

Occhilupo is in Hawaii preparing for the final event of the season, the Pipeline Masters, which starts early next month.



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