Mick Fanning of Australia Wins Billabong Pro Tahiti 2012
By Carlos Rock
Final: M. Fanning 18.87 def J. Parkinson 18.37
Two-time world champion and current world number one Mick Fanning from Australia beat best mate Joel Parkinson in the final at the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
After a slow start and eight lay days in between contest days, a new swell filled in as predicted to provide a thrilling end to the contest.
The final day produced 6-foot bombs to give the surfers potential 10 point rides in every heat. Basically, almost everyone got 9’s in their heats from the quarters on.
Mick Fanning was surfing excellently, pulling out a 10 in the dying seconds of his quarterfinal heat against Ricardo Dos Santos. The Brazilian who had been on a tear in the contest took out Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, and Jordy Smith before falling to Mick’s last second miracle wave.
Mick Fanning really seemed to be in rhythm with Teahupoo dropping into bomb after bomb and threading through impossible barrels with style and flair. It made for a very entertaining webcast and channel 250 on Direct TV.
This win solidifies Fanning’s lead in the rankings and if he can surf well in the remaining events in the year, could be looking at a third world title to add to his list of achievements.
The lone Hawaiian and wonder kid John John Florence masterfully beat Gabriel Medina in a very one-sided quarterfinal heat. Florence was so dominant that Medina paddled in with two minutes left in the heat needing a two-wave total and succumbing to John John.
Florence was looking extra smooth taking late drops, packing no- handed backside barrels, getting spit out into the channel, and breaking through whitewater to earn himselfa third place finish, and the third spot on the ASP World Championship Tour Rankings. The last Hawaiian to win the Billabong Pro Tahiti was the late Andy Irons who won it in 2010 beating CJ Hobgood.
John John looked to continue the legacy of Andy, but he fell just short to the world #2 Joel Parkinson from Australia in the second quarterfinal.
The all-Australian final did not disappoint. Joel Parkinson started things off with three great rides including a 9.5 out of 10 points on his opening ride and backing it up with a 8.87 to put Fanning in the combination situation within the first minutes.
Fanning answered back with a 9.37 and a 9.5 to combo Joel and takes the win from his best mate. Mick Fanning has never won in Tahiti and is a well-deserved win.
Fanning surfed amazing, but any one of the surfers left in the final day could have taken the win. At this level of competition, everyone is capable of 10s and beating anyone, even 11-time world champ Mr. Slater.
Great contest overall and thanks to the webcast, we were all able to enjoy it, in real time, wishing we were there.
The good news for Hawaii? This swell that the boys are surfing in Tahiti will slowly make its way to the southern shores. Hopefully it doesn’t lose too much of its energy.
It is possible that we could be very well be surfing the same exact waves as the pros were surfing in Tahiti.
Congratulations Mick Fanning.
Contest coverage here. http://www.billabongpro.com/tahiti12/heat-analyzer-gb