Australia’s Mick Fanning has claimed the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach over reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in three-to-five foot waves on Australia’s Gold Coast…
The second event on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour culminated in dramatic fashion with pundits calling it the “Best final in event history.”
Fanning and Slater went blow for blow throughout the 35-minute bout, exchanging massive scores and the lead several times before the dust settled.
“Kelly did that Hail Mary for the 10 and I thought, ‘Oh, here we go.’ I just caught waves and I’m stoked it all paid off,” said Fanning.
Today’s win marked Fanning’s 14th elite tour win and his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach win since 2001. It also brings the Australian’s record with Slater closer to even at 7 to Kelly’s 8 in their heat match-up history.
“I’m just stoked because it’s been so long,” Fanning said. “It doesn’t seem strange that it’s taken so long to win another one when you’ve got guys like Joel [Parkinson], Jordy [Smith] and Kelly [Slater] on tour. I usually come up just a bit short - usually against Joel, but I got him today!”
This year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach was dedicated to the memory of three-time event winner Michael Peterson, who sadly passed away last week. The final was preceded by a minute’s applause in memory of the Australian surfer.
“I was on the verge of tears out the back,” Fanning said. “I just took in the whole crowd. It’s not every day you’ve got the crowd cheering. I could have paddled in after that, but I’m glad I didn’t though.”
After finishing an uncharacteristic 13th at his home break in the first ASP World Tour competition, Fanning’s victory at the Rip Curl Bells Beach rockets him to joint No. 3 alongside Taj Burrow on the ASP World Championship Tour rankings heading into the next event.
“I had a bit of a meltdown at the first event,” Fanning said. “I knew everything was working well. I knew I just needed to go and simple things up. I knew there were going to be a lot of waves with the tide dropping out and I guess I just wanted to be on the good ones. You’ve got to just believe in your judgment.”
Slater fought back from an early combination situation with a full-rotation aerial for a perfect 10. The legendary natural-footer backed it up moments later with an 8.07 to take the lead, but would only hold it briefly after an assault from Fanning.
“I was moving around trying to get active and I was just finding my feet,” Slater said. “I knew Mick was going to be real patient. I knew he got that start and then I tried to talk to him and he put his serious head on and pissed me off, so I thought I’d throw a big rotator on him and it wasn’t enough. I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle with the waves out there, with the long intervals and long lulls, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Slater’s Runner-Up finish moves him back to the No. 1 spot on the ASP World Championship Tour ratings ahead of Brazil’s Adriano de Souza in second.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.80
2 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.07
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.83
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.83 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.06 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 13.66
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.97 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.10
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.27
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.63 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.63
- Check out Mick's profile page
- Watch highlights from the event at ripcurl.com
- ASP World Tour website
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