Mick Fanning Wins Billabong Pro Tahiti in Perfect Conditions
August 27, 2012
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Australian surfer Mick Fanning held onto his world number 1 ranking by winning the pearl event of the ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti, defeating world number 2 Joel Parkinson in Monday's final.
In perfect conditions at the legendary surf break Teahupoo, the matchup between the Australian boyhood rivals proved to be a fight to the finish on the last day of the event's 12-day waiting period.
Parkinson established an early lead with two high-scoring waves in the first moments of the 35-minute final earning a combination score of 18.37 out of 20. Fanning fought back late in the heat with a single wave score of 9.37 out of 10 but still needed a second wave of 9.01 or better to move into the lead.
With just over 3 minutes on the clock Fanning caught a massive left-hander, riding deep in the tube, before dramatically escaping the cascading lip of the closing wave. The effort was rewarded with a 9.5, enough to take the lead for good with a total score of 18.87.
“With 35 minutes I knew waves would come, it was just a matter of time," an out of breath Fanning said after the win. "I had to do a lot of hard work (to beat Joel) so I'm super stoked."
Fanning overcame close calls just to make it to the final Monday. In the quarterfinal he held off surging Brazilian wild card Ricardo Dos Santos, who won the event’s “Most Committed Performance Award” in honor of the late 3-time World Champion Andy Irons.
American John Florence faced Parkinson in the semi-final but came up short.
“I’m stoked to have made the Semifinals,” Florence said. “I would have loved to make the Finals, but it’s still a good result for me.”
The victory puts Fanning, a 2-time world champion, in a comfortable lead in the overall ASP points standings ahead of Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater. The next event takes place at Trestles in San Clemente, California September 16-22.