Caption: Mick Fanning (AUS) makes history by claiming his fourth victory at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Image: WSL / Kirstin
Making history on his home turf, Mick Fanning wins his fourth Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition of his career. The ring of a bell never sounded so sweet as the Australian native takes home the Bells Beach trophy after a Final round overflowing with tension.
The 30 year old beat out Brazilian Adriano de Souza to win the only Final in Championship Tour (CT) history to end in a tie. Both surfers finished the Final with a score of 15.27, but Fanning broke the tie with the highest single-wave score. His 8.17 ride on his second wave of the heat earned the defending champ a win at home.
"Bells is a special place for me and it's the first event I ever came to as a kid. The support and the crowds here are always amazing," said Fanning. "Every time I paddle out I just want to do my best, throw myself into it and not have any regrets. You have to take it heat by heat because you never know what's going to happen next. Every year on this Tour we all give it our all and try to put on a good show."
Even though Fanning didn't start the Final with strong momentum, the Australian managed to make an impressive comeback. At the start of the heat, it was de Souza who took the first wave and put the pressure on Fanning. When Fanning went down after his first wave earning a mere 0.93, de Souza proved his talent with big turns on a 7.50 ride. In true Fanning style, the Australian made a serious comeback pulling out a layback hack, some clean rail work and a strong series of critical turns for the 8.17 ride that eventually broke the tie after this tension-filled Final.
Caption: Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to winning the 2015 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Image: WSL / Kelly Cestari
Despite losing in the closest heat in CT history, de Souza put up a solid fight and has nothing but respect for Fanning.
"Mick really deserved to be number no. 1," De Souza said. "Thanks so much to everyone back home and everyone who came down to the beach to support us. Thanks to Rip Curl and WSL for putting on another big event and see you next year."
Fanning's victory against de Souza, who was the 2013 Bells Beach champion, means the Australian is tied with legendary surfers Kelly Slater (USA) and Mark Richards (AUS) for the most wins in the event's history.
With the race for the World Title still going strong, Fanning takes the lead going into the third event on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour in Margaret River.
For event highlights visit worldsurfleague.com
To see more of Fannings skills, check out this video as he takes out Nat Young (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Semi Final round at Bells Beach.