Three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning has won the JBay Open, stop No. 6 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), defeating John John Florence in an exciting Final in 3-4 foot surf at Jeffreys Bay.
Today’s incredible victory comes a year after a dramatic incident during the 2015 JBay Open Final where Fanning was attacked on live television by what is believed to be a Great White Shark.
“It’s definitely a very different feeling this win,” said Fanning. “There was a real emotional build up coming back here this year.
That Semifinal with Julian was really special and it was wonderful to have a heat with him again. Definitely some emotions went into it paddling out and it was just really special having a surf with him out there and both of us come in safe.
I’m stoked that I got to come back and right the wrongs that happened last year. I’ve done that now so I can move on.”
The win today is Fanning’s 22nd Championship Tour victory and his fourth at the JBay Open, which sees him equal Slater’s record of four event wins at Jeffreys Bay. Fanning defeated Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Julian Wilson (AUS) en route to the Final today.
Fanning, who is taking a personal year in 2016 and only surfing in select events this season, leaps up from 16th to 5th place on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard.
Today’s runner-up finish for John John Florence sees him move up to second place on the Jeep Leaderboard for the first time in his career and close the gap on ratings leader Matt Wilkinson (AUS) heading into the next event on the CT, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Florence, who was absent from the JBay Open in 2015 due to an ankle injury, defeated Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Quarterfinals and Josh Kerr (AUS) in the Semifinals before facing Fanning in the Final and earning his best ever result at Jeffreys Bay.
“I’m really stoked to be back here this year and to be in the Final surfing against Mick,” Florence said. “I wasn’t here last year when everything went down so just to see Mick win it is pretty inspiring.”
Highlights from the J-Bay Open are available at World Surf League.
JBay Open Final Results:
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.70
2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.13
JBay Open Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 16.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.43
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.10 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.17
JBay Open Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 10.70 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.50
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.94 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.97
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.33 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.93
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.64 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.40
WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after JBay Open):
1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 34,250 pts
2. John John Florence (HAW) 31,900 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 29,200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 24,400 pts
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 23,450 pts