Mick Fanning has claimed the 2012 Billabong Pro Tahiti over compatriot and Gold Coast stablemate Joel Parkinson in classic 4 – 6 foot waves at Teahupo’o.
Fanning was put on the ropes early in the Final bout with Parkinson collecting a 9.50 and an 8.87 on his opening two rides. However, former event runner-up fought back mid-heat with an impressive 9.37 before backing it up with a nail-biting 9.50 to take the lead and hold it as the buzzer ran out.
With today’s win, Fanning has become the first Australian since Mark Occhilupo in 1999 to claim the Billabong Pro Tahiti title and has further cemented himself into the frontrunner spot on the 2012 ASP WCT rankings.
“It’s a 35 minute Final so I knew the waves were going to come,” Fanning said. “I just had to be patient. It’s Teahupo’o so it goes on and off. You can get two 10s in two minutes so I knew I just needed to keep my composure throughout the Final. Joel (Parkinson) is such an incredible surfer and he’s gotten so good out here. He raced out to an early lead and I knew I needed to focus on my own game plan. I got that good score about mid-heat and then was able to sell him when he had priority on one that didn’t pan out for him. The second wave was the one and it’s an incredible feeling to come back and get the win. I’m stoked.”
John John Florence (HAW), 19, competing in his first-ever Billabong Pro Tahiti, led the rookie charge at this year’s installment, confidently cruising into the Semifinals where he matched up with Parkinson. Despite locking in an impressive 9.67 out of a possible 10 for an impressive backhand tube, Florence was unable to find a solid backup score and finished the event with an Equal 3rd.
The next stop on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour will be the Hurley Pro at Trestles from September 16 – 22, 2012.
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.87
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.37
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.93 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 18.10
QF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.14 def. John John Florence (HAW) 15.17
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 19.07 def. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 18.64
QF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.90 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.60
QF 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.50 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.43
QF 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.17 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 4.17
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 16.17 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.27
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.96 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.70
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.66 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.50
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.66 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.64
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (After Billabong Pro Tahiti)
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 34,750 pts
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 31,700 pts
3. John John Florence (HAW) 27,450 pts
4. Kelly Slater (USA) 25,450 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 24,950 pts