C’est Cool: Parko beats Fanning in a Coolie kid final; Kelly moves a step closer to #8

EVENTS HELD: Round 4 to Final
CONDITIONS: Small in the morning with new swell filling in, offshore.
NATURE'S CALL: Sick for the first two days at Mundaka
PREDICTIONS: Whether at Mundaka or Brazil, another title is coming for Slater.

The best surfer at this event won today. Hands down. Joel Parkinson was dominant and unstoppable. No one could touch him and they knew it. Andy didn't even seem angry when he lost to the guy in the semis, just resigned. Parko was that good and he knew it. On a right hand bank that had moments where it looked like Superbank, and had a killer rip to match, Parko was in his element. Tubes, airs, effortless snaps, looking ridiculously comfortable and at ease on every wave. No one this year has earned a victory this year as much as he earned this one.

Parko said it was emotional for him to surf against his childhood mate Fanning for the first time in a WCT final, but he seemed not to feel any sympathy when he had him combo-ed with five minutes remaining.

So there you go: a first/second for Parko and Fanning and equal thirds for Kelly and Andy. But what does that mean for the world title? Drum roll please…hot off the presses of WCT Tour Manager Renato Hickel's printer, here are the scenarios for Mundaka:

Kelly 1st at Mundaka = Kelly wins the World Title

Kelly 2nd at Mundaka = Taj, Andy, Mick must win Mundaka

Kelly 3rd at Mundaka = Taj can get 5th, and Andy, Mick and Joel must place higher than Kelly.

What it all means? Choose your clich. Kelly is in the driver's seat. Kellys is in charge of his own destiny. No matter what anyone else does, if he wins next week it's all over. But let's break it down further. Say Kelly makes the final at Mundaka but Taj, Andy or Mick do not? Kelly wins the world title. And from here on out, all them, except for Taj, need to place higher than Kelly in every event – a tall order if there ever was one. (Taj can place 1 heat lower than Kelly at Mundaka to force it to go to Brazil)

That's the story, Kelly didn't win the battle today but he came much closer to winning the war. His victory over Jake Paterson in the quarters was huge. He surfed terribly by his own admission, falling on his first six waves, but still found a way to win. Needing a 5.68 with only seconds left in the heat, he grabbed a head-high wave with shape and did just enough to get a 6.17 and advance.

Against Fanning in the semis, he surfed a little better but made a crucial error when, holding priority, he inexplicably let Fanning have the best wave of the heat – a ride on which he scored a 9.1. "I couldn't believe it when he let me have that wave," said Fanning. "It had a few chops in it at first, but when I took off it smoothed out perfectly."

A mistake for sure, but will it matter? Probably not. With Parko surfing out of his mind, there's no way a fatigued Kelly ("That rip is the worst I've ever experienced in a contest" was his quote) would've have beaten him. So blowing it against Fanning ended up costing him less than {{{200}}} points.

Starting on Monday, with a day’s rest, he’ll have a crack at what isexpected to be perfect 6-8 foot Mundaka – where few in the world can sniff him.

And now even fewer sniff the 2006 world title.