What a day for Mick Fanning. Two years of work all came to a head with the ultimate result, today on the south central coast of Brazil. Claiming his first ever World Surfing Championship Title and the Hangloose Pro.
Mick Fanning suffered a huge blow two years ago, tearing his hamstring clear off the bone. From that point on, Mick's fight was to not only return to professional surfing, but to win a World Title. Today, Fanning owned that dream and turned it into a reality, out-surfing the world’s best. For Fanning it was the biggest day of his life, and for Australian surfing it is also the biggest day in eight years. Mick's win will mean the return of the World Championship trophy to Aussie shores for the first time since Mark Occhilupo won his last world title in 1999.
Coming into the contest today there were three contenders left in the race for the World Title. Kelly Slater was the first to fall, taken down by an on-form Kai Otton, who eventually went on to come second, making the first final of his career. Next was Taj Burrow who faced Tom Whitaker in round four. Whitaker got two huge scores leaving Burrow needing an eight-point ride and although a few potential waves came through, nothing eventuated into the score he needed, leaving Whitaker with the heat win. Putting Taj out of the title race and making Mick Fanning the 2007 World Champion. Taj was pretty bummed with the loss, quickly heading up the beach and out of the public and media attention.
Slater seemed to handle his loss a little better. In a press interview, he talked about being able to step away from competition surfing a fair bit more, to spend time with his family and to spend time free surfing and exploring other parts of the world.
The Championship awards were held even though there were still the finals of the Hangloose Pro left to run, with celebrations for Mick's World Title win in full swing, the beer was flowing.
Word has it Mick had downed at least five beers before heading back into the water, but the alcohol didn't see to affect his performance as he entered the water one more time and absolutely smashed it.
Before he went back out for the finals, Occy and Bruce Irons were a little late for the party, I guess they were surfing up the coast somewhere, in their rush to make it back to support Mick, one of them backed into something smashing out the back window of their hire car. The boys didn't care in the slightest; as they were so pumped on Mick's win.
"If anyone deserves to win it, this year, it’s Mick". Bruce said.
The Hangloose Pro ended up being an all Aussie affair, with Fanning claiming the win, Kai Otton in second and Tom Whitaker and Joel Parkinson rounding it out in third equal. Otts second placing has catapulted him up the tour rankings to seventh place, meaning the battle for Rookie of the Year against Jeremy Flores will come down to pipe.
ASP PRESS RELEASE
Mick Fanning has secured the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour Championship title during an action-packed final day at the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro. Prior to today's competition, only Kelly Slater and Taj Burrow remained in contention for the World Title but both surfers were eliminated, leaving Fanning with an unassailable points lead on the Foster's ASP World Tour.
The first contender to fall was Kelly Slater when he came up against a red hot Kai Otton in Round 4. Slater struggled to find waves in the heat and Kai Otton capitalised on the opportunity by eliminating Slater with two strong scoring rides.
Taj Burrow became the final obstacle in Fanning's path as both surfers progressed to the quarter finals for an exciting showdown.
Fanning put in yet another solid performance to defeat Neco Padaratz in their quarter final match-up and all the pressure was left in Taj Burrow's court.
Burrow faced fellow Australian Tom Whitaker in the fourth quarter final and both surfers started the heat with a strong ride. Tom Whitaker found a great second wave and scored an 8.83 which left Taj needing an 8 point ride. Although a couple of waves showed potential, Taj was unable to get the score required and was eliminated.