After a bomb of a final, Mick Fanning ousted Kelly Slater at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach by just a few tenths of a point, garnering him the chance to ring the iconic bell for the first time in over ten years.
Fanning took the lead in the first few minutes with a huge clean frontside air on his first wave, which earned him a 9.10. From the beginning, Fanning was out for blood. In the entire 40-minute heat, Fanning only took off on three waves with the lowest score being an 8.60.
Slater, on the other hand, took off on nearly every wave that walled up . It took him a while to find his rhythm, but his massive no grab 360 air reverse put him right back in the competition. The rotation was perfect, it was super clean and he landed in the flats. It was the most beautiful maneuver of the whole competition, almost reminiscent of his air show in New York last year.
“Kelly did that Hail Mary for the 10 and I thought, â€˜Oh, here we go.â€™ I just caught waves and Iâ€™m stoked it all paid off,â€ Fanning said of his win in a RedBull interview.
At this point, Slater was still in a combo position. But that’s no sweat for him. He broke out of the combo position and scored an 8.70 on his next wave.
Now this is where things got a little sketchy. Fanning answered back with a nice wave, hacking up and down flawlessly, but went down while attempting a reverse to finish. The judges gave him a 9.70 on that third and final wave, solidifying his win.
But was it a fair score? The dual screen replay on the webcast showed both waves side by side. Slater’s wave was a bit more sloppy and did not flow as well, but Fanning fell and never finished the wave. Was it was worth such a high score?
An angry Slater took off on five more waves with some powerful turns, a carving 360 and a big alley oop, but he still fell short.
â€œI was moving around trying to get active and I was just finding my feet,â€ Slater said. â€œI knew Mick was going to be real patient. I knew he got that start and then I tried to talk to him and he put his serious head on and pissed me off, so I thought Iâ€™d throw a big rotator on him and it wasnâ€™t enough. I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle with the waves out there, with the long intervals and long lulls, but thatâ€™s just the way it goes.â€
This win torpedoed Fanning to the No. 3 spot on the world tour alongside Taj Burrow. Though Slater took second, he still remains on top of the tour.
Congratulations are also an order to Sally Fitzgibbons who defended her title as the queen of Bells Beach, ringing the bell for the second year in a row.
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH FINAL RESULTS:
1 â€“Â Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.80
2 â€“ Kelly Slater (USA) 18.07
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACHÂ SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.83
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.83 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACHÂ QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1:Â Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.06 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 13.66
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.97 def.Â Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.10
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.27
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.44 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.63
CURRENT ASP TOP 5 (After Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 13,200 pts
2.Â Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12,000 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11,750 pts
3. Taj Burrow (AUS)Â 11,750 pts
5. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11,700 pts
5.Â Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11,700 pts
5. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11,700 pts
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 â€“Â Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.76
2 â€“ Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.33
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH WOMEN’S SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1:Â Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.10 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.77
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.27 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.50
CURRENT ASP WOMENâ€™S TOP 3 (After Rip Curl Pro Bells):
1.Â Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18,000 pts
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16,500 pts
3. Tyler Wright (AUS) 13,000 pts
4. Laura Enever (AUS) 12,000 pts