Mick Fanning Claims Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Over Kelly Slater
April 6, 2012 – Rip Curl's Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, has claimed the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger over reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, in pumping, offshore three-to-five foot waves at Bells Beach.
Event No. 2 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach culminated in dramatic fashion today with many calling it the "best Final in event history."
Mick and Kelly went blow for blow throughout the 35-minute bout, exchanging massive scores and the lead several times before the dust settled.
"I'm so pumped," Fanning said. "Kelly (Slater) did that Hail Mary for the 10 and I thought, 'oh, here we go.' I just caught waves and I'm stoked it all paid off. I'm really at a loss for words and I'm just pumped. It doesn't get any sweeter. The crowd's been amazing with the whole amphitheater and the history that comes with it. I always picture this event and have had some seconds over the years, so to get this one, I'm so pumped."
Today's win marked Fanning's 14th elite tour win and his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach win since 2001. It also brings the Australian's record with Slater closer to even at 7 to Kelly's 8 in their heat matchup history.
This year's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach was dedicated to the memory of three-time event winner Michael Peterson (AUS), who tragically passed away last week, and the Final was preceded by a minute's applause in memory of the great Australian.
"I was on the verge of tears out the back," Fanning said. "I just sat out the back before the Final and just took in the whole crowd. It's not everyday you've got the crowd cheering and I could have paddled in after that, but I'm glad I didn't though."
Although finishing an uncharacteristic 13th at his homebreak on the Gold Coast, today's victory rockets Fanning to No. 3 on the ASP World Championship Tour rankings heading into the next event.
"I had a bit of a meltdown at the first event," Fanning said. "I knew everything was working well. I knew I just needed to go and simple things up. I took the headphones off and had a lot more fun. I knew there were going to be a lot of waves with the tide dropping out and I guess I just wanted to be on the good ones. You've got to just believe in your judgment and I'm stoked."
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be available via http://live.ripcurl.com
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am and assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start to the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta.
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