Fanning rocks Snapper in dream start to tour
MICK FANNING has become the first surfer to win the Quiksilver Pro twice, beating fellow Australian Bede Durbidge in the final of the season-opening men's world tour event on the Gold Coast yesterday.
Fanning, the 2005 champion, scored a best two-wave total of 16.17 in the decider compared to the under-rated Durbidge (12.00), who couldn't nail a winning ride in the barrelling 2.5-metre waves at Snapper Rocks.
In a dream start to the WCT tour, Fanning has grabbed the No1 ranking heading into the next event, at Bells Beach, Victoria, starting April 3.
The jubilant 25-year-old was chaired from the beach to the winner's podium.
Fanning ended the run of Byron Bay's Danny Wills by a slim margin (13.50 to 12.43) in the fourth round yesterday morning.
But for Wills the equal ninth-place finish marks a good start to the 2007 World Championship Tour.
Eight-time world champion Kelly Slater and West Australian Taj Burrow, the 2006 finalists, finished equal third after bowing out in two epic semi-finals.
Durbidge was dropped by Billabong and accessories company Creatures of Leisure in December, despite having won in Trestles, California last year and finishing the season ranked 15 in the world.
He blew away world No6 Joel Parkinson in the quarter-finals before knocking out event defending champion Slater in the semi-finals.
The Gold Coast surfer caught only three rides in his semi-final against American superstar Slater but still nailed a best two-wave 19.40 total in barrelling 2m waves.
"What do you do?" a flabbergasted Slater said after surfing a superb heat yet still emerging the loser with an 18.73 total.
"The waves are there to be had, he was just better in sync than me.
"You can't be bummed losing a heat like that."
Fanning (19.53 total) pipped WCT rookie Josh Kerr (19.10) in a thrilling quarter-final some tour veterans described as the best they have seen ? that is, until Slater and Durbidge went into battle.
He then smoked West Australia's Taj Burrow in the semi-finals.
Sydney rising surf star Sam Page, 21, made a surprise visit to Snapper Rocks, leaving hospital for the first time since being allegedly bashed by a bouncer at a Gold Coast nightspot on February 25.