Surfer Mick Fanning, 31, came from behind in the final round of the Billabong Pro Tahiti to snatch the title from countryman Joel Parkinson. “I held the lead in a 35-minute final until the four-minute mark,” Parkinson said. “It’s frustrating to lose that way, but you cannot fault Mick. He’s been a true champion through the event and has proven that he’s one to watch out at Teahupo’o for sure.”
The victory keeps Fanning in first place on the ASP leaderboard halfway through the world tour. With five stops remaining, Fanning leads Parkinson, John John Florence, and Kelly Slater, in that order. “I made a final out here before, but to come away with the win is great for my confidence and I’m in a good position heading into the next half of the year," Fanning said. "Early days though and there are a lot of guys right up there. It’s still anyone’s game at this point.”
After the ASP World Tour heavies survived (for the most part) the death defying pits of a year ago, they came back this year with a new confidence. It was another level from the first nutters to surf the place. And today's final rounds set a new standard on just what can be done when Teahupoo is just perfect.
Simply getting a tube, getting a big wrapping cutty and exiting into the channel is simply no longer enough to win heats. Today it's all about who can disappear for 10 seconds, who can not only ride the barrel, but flirt with the foam ball, who can shove their butt or both arms into the face and stay hidden, and actually surf on their rail while under the lip. Call it Teahupoo 3.0.
Fanning won the ASP title in 2009 and 2007.
The next ASP event takes place at Trestles in San Clemente, California, and begins on September 16.
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (AFTER BILLABONG PRO TAHITI)
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 34,750 pts
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 31,700 pts
3. John John Florence (HAW) 27,450 pts
4. Kelly Slater (USA) 25,450 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 24,950 pts