Mick Fanning Lunges Closer To The Crown

All Photos: Sherm
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The pesky trend of small surf was finally haulted on the third day of competition at the Rip Curl Pro. In overhead thumpers, Rounds 2 and 3 found their way to the books at Peniche. Things were pretty interesting in Round 2 as we saw a few upsets worth noting. Gabriel Medina put up a combined 8.10 heat total in his loss to Alejo Muniz. It was an unfortunate way to see him go. In the last heat out the round, Bede Durbridge stunned Kolohe Andino with a 9.43 and an 8.17. Kolohe’s 13.93 heat total would have won most of the other heats in the round, but when has that ever mattered? To Round 3 we went, sans Kolohe, sans Gabriel.

Julian gave John John Florence and Felipe Toledo a little hey how ya doing with a 10-point punt in the third heat. If the ASP had an “Alley-Oop of the Year” category at their annual banquet, 2013 would see a tight race. Mick Fanning surfed three heats later against wildcard Jacob Wilcox. Mick opened strong and before Jacob knew it, he was shown the door of his first ever ‘CT contest with $9000 in his pocket. Not a bad day for 16-year-old. After that, Jordy Smith held onto his slim chances at the title by defeating the Slater-slaying Frederico Morais. Something tells us Kelly would have liked to have a go at Fred in conditions like today. The rest of Round 3 carried on without much of a fuss.

Mick is now two heats, or four scoring waves, away from the 2013 World Title. His first test will be against John John Florence and Matt Wilkinson. Wiko beat Mick in Round 1 and John John is John John, so Mick better be studying. If he doesn’t win that heat, Mick will surf against a TBD opponent in Round 5. He’ll need to ace that and a Quarterfinal to wrap it up in Portugal. Otherwise, this thing heads to Pipe — which, for surf fans, wouldn’t be the worst thing since croakies. —Brendan Buckley