Comeback kid Mick Fanning has signalled he is back to his electrifying best with an emotion-charged victory in the Quiksilver Pro Presented by Boost Mobile at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast!
Before an ecstatic 8,000-strong home crowd, the 23-year-old Gold Coast local hero defeated American rookie Chris Ward in the season-opening Foster’s Men’s World Championship Tour event to complete a remarkable return from injury.
Fanning, who finished 4th in the world in 2003, missed most of last season after tearing his hamstring from the bone in a horrific free surfing wipeout in Indonesia.
After months of frustration spent out of the water in painful rehabilitation, he returned to the WCT this year courtesy of an Association of Surfing Professionals injury wildcard which fellow surfers voted unanimously to award him.
And what a comeback it was – Fanning capping a sensational Quiksilver Pro surfing festival in stunning fashion with his debut victory at home.
In winning the event, he joined fellow ‘Coolangatta Kids’ Joel Parkinson (2002) and Dean Morrison (2003) to have his name inscribed on the prestigious championship trophy. Adding to the parochial crowd’s delight was Gold Coast teenage wildcard Stephanie Gilmore’s triumph in the women’s Roxy Pro Presented by Boost Mobile.
“It’s just a statement to the world of surfing that Mick’s back,” said a joyful Parkinson, who with fellow Aussie Nathan Hedge chaired a deliriously happy Fanning from the beach.
“It made it so much sweeter to come back off injury,” said a shaking Fanning as he skolled a celebratory can of Foster’s, the US$30,000 winner’s cheque in his other hand.
“Everything that I’d thought about over the whole six months when I was out of the water, it all worked – I’m just so wrapped, just so stoked.”
It has been an incredible eight days of non-stop action at Snapper. A world record in the making with 47 surfers riding a single, giant 40-foot surfboard, Bruce Irons claiming a bonus $5,000 prize for an incredible 7 second tuberide, helicopters and news crews and media flocked to the beach each and every day … and the local crowds cheered every wave along the way!
Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile official results:
1st Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.93 – 1200 pts, US$30,000
2nd Chris Ward (USA) 11.90 – 1032 pts, US$16,000
Semi-finals (1st>final, 2nd=3rd place, 876 pts, US$10,000)
SF1: Mick Fanning (Aus) 17.27 def Trent Munro (Aus) 13.10
SF2: Chris Ward (USA) 14.10 def Tom Whitaker (Aus) 14.10
Quarter-finals (1st>semis, 2nd=5th place, 732 pts, US$8,000)
QF1: Trent Munro (Aus) 15.20 def C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.67
QF2: Mick Fanning (Aus) 15.66 def Andy Irons (HAW) 15.10
QF3: Tom Whitaker (Aus) 9.67 def Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 6.73
QF4: Chris Ward (USA) 14.77 def Kelly Slater (USA) 13.07
A huge thank you to all who helped made the event possible, especially the Snapper Rocks locals, co-sponsors, event staff and of course – the amazing surfers!