Mick Fanning has claimed his fourth Bells Beach Pro victory. Very narrowly defeating Adriano de Souza in the final in what is the closest Championship Tour (CT) final ever.
Mick Fanning’s win today has put him up with two of surfing’s greats Kelly Slater and Mark Richards who also hold four Bells Beach Pro victories. Mick Fanning first won the event as a wildcard in 2001, his second victory came over a decade later in 2012 and he then claimed victory last year. This was Mick Fanning’s 20th CT victory equalling the late great Andy Irons.
“I’d never put myself in a category with MR (Mark Richards), Kelly Slater and Andy Irons,” said Mick Fanning. “Those guys are my heroes. MR is a god, Kelly is a king and Andy is forever, it’s awesome.”
The conditions improved for the final from some very average Bells Beach this morning, the wind died down slightly and there were some walls to carve and some lips to hit. Adriano de Souza started the final strongly putting in a strong rail game carving some classic lines.
Mick Fanning took over 15 minutes to catch a wave of significance and once he did the competition started. The two surfers went wave for wave battling it out and it ended in a tie with both surfers having an equal score by the end of the 35 minute final. Mick Fanning claimed the victory because he had the highest scoring wave of the final. This must have been a bitter blow for Adriano de Souza as he had caught many more waves and came so close to getting the score needed but falling short by 0.01.
The first ever tiebreak Final puts Fanning on a path to his fourth World Title and he will take the gold leader jersey going into the third event on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in Margaret River. Today’s match-up was the pair’s tenth in CT history, including three at Bells Beach, and Fanning has taken seven wins while De Souza has three.
“Bells is a special place for me and it’s the first event I ever came to as a kid. The support and the crowds here are always amazing,” said Mick Fanning. “Every time I paddle out I just want to do my best, throw myself into it and not have any regrets. You have to take it heat by heat because you never know what’s going to happen next. Every year on this Tour we all give it our all and try to put on a good show.”
“Today is the first time a CT Final has ever been tied, which is radical. As elating as the win is for me I know it’s heartbreaking for Adriano,” continued Mick Fanning. “He’s such a top bloke and he throws his heart into everything and he trains so hard. He’s the elder statesman for the Brazilian storm and he does an impeccable job at leading them.”
“It’s a dream come true to make a Final here at Bells,” said De Souza. “This is such an amazing place for me and it was so special to put my name on this trophy in 2013. Every time I come here it’s a special experience.”
With the Bells Beach Pro being another nail biting event, this year is already shaping up to be one of the best yet. Stay tuned for the Margret River event.
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) – 15.27 (Fanning wins with the heat’s highest single-wave score, 8.17)
2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 15.27
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semi-final Results:
SF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.84 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.87
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.70 def. Nat Young (USA) 14.23
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.60 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.33
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 7.93
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.76 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.60
QF 4: Nat Young (USA) 15.10 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.86
The Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach will likely run tomorrow and see a champion crowned. Event organizers will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning to assess conditions and make the next call.
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Match-ups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
For more information and highlights etc. check out worldsurfleague.com