Defending world champion Mick Fanning wins the South African leg of surfing’s world tour as Australians take the top four spots in the J-Bay Open.
Mick Fanning reignited his world surfing championship defence with victory in the sixth event of the year, the J-Bay Open.
Fanning beat good friend and former champion Joel Parkinson 17 points to 13.60 in the final as Australians claimed the top four placings on Saturday.
“I’m so tired but it’s a dream-come-true kind of day,” said Fanning.
“Joel is one of my favourite surfers and my best friend, we’ve known each other since we were kids. I’m so stoked, it was such an incredible day of waves and I’m just so thankful that I got to surf it. A big thanks to the ASP and everyone involved in bringing the event back to the Tour.”
Parkinson earlier snared a perfect 10-point ride as he accounted for Matt Wilkinson 18.83 to 15.54 in the semi-finals in flawless two- to three-metre surf.
“I made a couple of bad decisions and I just didn’t get the right waves,” Parkinson said of the final.
“It would’ve been nice to get a win but that was a brilliant day of surfing with amazing waves and it was so wonderful to be part of it.”
Fanning won his semi 17 to 12.50 over Owen Wright, who had beaten Brazil’s championship leader, Gabriel Medina, in the quarter-finals.
Both Queenslanders jumped up the rankings, Fanning climbing five spots to third and Parkinson improving three places to sit behind leader Medina.
With five events remaining the Brazilian has 36,150 points, Parkinson 34,400, Fanning 32,650 and beaten quarter-finalist Taj Burrow 31,950.
Eleven-time champion American Kelly Slater had his worst result of the year, equal 13th, and dropped three places to sit sixth in the rankings on 30,350 points.
The next event is in Tahiti from August 15.