Micks on top of the world
By BOB ANTHONY of the Tweed Daily News
WHEN Mick Fanning woke yesterday, he had a good feeling about the day ahead.
It may have been a premonition as to what was to come because at sunset, the Tweed Heads surfer was the new surfing world champion.
In the one-and-a-half to two-metre waves, on Brazil's Imbituba beach, Fanning finally broke the two-year reign of eight-time world champion Kelly Slater and became the first Australian since another Tweed-based surfer, Mark Occhilupo, to be crowned world champion.
Fanning beat Sydney's Kai Otton in the final of the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro but the world title was decided well before that after Slater was knocked out in the fourth round.
That left West Australian Taj Burrow as the only other surfer who could pose a threat to Fanning for the title.
Sitting in the water for his semi-final against good friend Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson, news came through that Sydney's Tom Whitaker had knocked Burrow out of the race.
"We were waiting to start our semi when the word came through," Fanning said from Brazil.
"He started hooting and yelling and congratulated me, obviously really happy for me, and it was unreal to be able to share such a special moment with a great mate.
"When I realized I'd won I went, 'What do we do Joel?' and he was like, 'I don't know!'
"We just went into the semi and just had a lot of fun." But Fanning wasn't finished for the day and after defeating Parkinson in the semi, he then went on to face Otton in the final and in an inspired display clinched the event, 14.83 to 10.50, for his third win on the ASP world tour this year.
There may have been a sign that it was going to be Fanning's day early on with a lone dolphin hanging in the line-up during the contest.
"Every heat I've had today there has been a dolphin right there in the line-up, just chilling," Fanning said.
Fanning was presented with the world title trophy by the former champion Kelly Slater, who stayed at the contest site until the final was completed.