MICK Fanning has received a push forward in his quest for the world title, named champion of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach for the fourth time.
In a nail-biting final that ended in a tie-break for the first time in the competition’s history, an ecstatic Fanning was victorious over the 2013 winner Adriano de Souza.
While both surfers finished on 15.27, Fanning won with the heat’s highest single-wave score of 8.17.
The win was a trip down memory lane for Fanning, with the Pro being his first ever ASP World Tour win back in 2001.
“Bells is a special place for me and it’s the first event I ever came to as a kid.,” he said.
“The support and the crowds here are always amazing – every time I paddle out I just want to do my best, throw myself into it and not have any regrets. You have to take it heat by heat because you never know what’s going to happen next.” Fanning said that while the win was elating for him, it was heartbreaking for de Souza.
“He’s such a top bloke and he throws his heart into everything and trains so hard. He’s the elder statesman for the Brazilian storm and does an impeccable job at leading them.” Hawaii’s Carissa Moore also reclaimed her title as women’s champ, defeating Australian Stephanie Gilmore in the final.
The two have faced off in 20 other Championship Tour heats, with 10 wins each until Moore’s victory last week.
“It’s been such a beautiful experience and I feel super blessed,” Moore said.
“It’s challenging not only to regroup after a win, but you’re also competing against the best in the world so you really need to be in tip top shape.
“I’m just stoked to continue my momentum here.
“It’s a long year, there has only been two contests so far, and I know that all of the girls are fired up and they want (to win) really bad.” Moore won the final with a score of 14.00 to Gilmore’s 13.27.
The tour now heads to Western Australia for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
The competition window for the event opened yesterday and closes on April 26.
Large swells have been forecast for the first few days of the competition window.