One gets the feeling that "Eugene" Fanning will be tearing up Jeffreys Bay tonight after his alter ego, Mick, claimed the 2006 Billabong Pro for the second time in grinding waves at Supertubes.
In an all Aussie affair, Fanning strung together a handful of strong rides to narrowly oust compatriot Taj Burrow in a heat that began with Fanning racking up an opening ride of 8.17. The "Coolie Kid" then showed his sheer determination by bulldozing his way through a tight, warping barrel on his way to 6.83.
Burrow, who was immediately on the back foot was left playing catch-up and was visibly upset when the judges awarded him a 7.5 after a long ride to the Impossibles section of Supertubes. This score was soon backed up by an 8.5. which left Fanning needing a big score going into the final 10 minutes. Fanning then got to work on a wide, reeling wall that only ended after he had milked every ounce out from it. Burrow simply had no answer and despite getting two chances at an 8 point ride in the last minute, was unable to keep his feet planted on his board.
It may be a little unfair to say that Taj Burrow was a more deserving winner, but ultimately it was the draw that beat the determined Western Australian, who was showing visible signs of fatigue throughout the 35 minute final.
By comparison to Fanning, who's relatively surreptitious run to the final had left him with plenty of juice to dispose of Kelly Slater in the semis, Burrow was forced to doggedly fight his way to the last heat, as well as endure getting caught inside by four large waves in his semi final encounter with contest talking point, Jordy Smith.
Earlier in the day, Burrow had to use up a large portion of his energy supply during his quarterfinal match-up with good mate and travelling companion Tom Whitaker. Taj had to dig even deeper to survive the nail biting semi final against the South African wildcard, who left the bottom half of the draw in rubble on his way to an equal third.