Mick Fanning has once again won the title at Bells Beach. Late yesterday afternoon, Fanning drew tour veteran Taj Burrow in an all Aussie final, and claimed his third victory at the historic event. The sun was shining and the cool air did not deter spectators as both surfers put on a spectacular display of competitive surfing, tearing apart the long walls of the new contest area, Winkipop.
Mick Fanning rings the prestigious Bell for the third time – photo by ASP
For those not aware, Winkipop is down the beach from Bells. It provides long right hand walls with open faces, without all the complication and sectioning out like that of the Bowl or Rincon. Fanning and Burrow wowed spectators and judges through their impressive display of powerful turns and ability to race the open the walls of Winki. After a slow start, it was Mick to open the Final with an explosive 8.83. Like usual, Mick’s power and drive were extremely evident as he tore the face apart through a series of hacks, cutbacks and controlled turns. Fanning continued to backup scores with another 8.00 to further add to his campaign.
Taj saw no intimidation and also delivered, backing up with a near perfect score of 9.63 inside the last 15 minutes. This was the highest score of the Final, and Burrow was eager to obtain another under his belt and on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Western Australian, a second wave was not able to deliver the same result as his first, as he only managed to gain a 3.83. Both competitors continued to try scrape for any wave possible towards the end, though by the sound of the buzzer and end of the 35 minute Final, it was Mick Fanning finishing victorious. The Final concluded with Fanning on 16.83, to Burrows 13.46.
Winkipop on Finals day – Photo by ASP
‘We got to surf everywhere at this event which was awesome, we got to surf the Bowl, Rincon and to finish at Winkipop. It’s always been my dream to surf a Heat at Winkipop’ said Fanning. ‘With the calibre of surfers on Tour at the moment there’s never an easy Heat and it keeps it so exciting.’
Mick continued, ‘After that result (13th) in Margaret River I went home and worked really hard and I’m so pleased that the hard work paid off. Congratulations to Taj, I’ve never been so nervous for nine minutes of my life, he surfed amazingly.”
Although frustrated and disappointed after coming so close to the win, Taj Burrow tried to look at the brighter side of the situation and stay positive. ‘I had a good Final with Mick but it was rough losing knowing I needed a 7 because I felt like there were so many opportunities to get one, but that’s the way it goes.’ Taj, who won the Bells Title in 2007 continued with ‘There’s nothing better than ringing that Bell. It’s such an iconic event and I’m glad to have my name on the Bell. I’d love to have it on there a second time but I’ll take this result, put it in the bank and carry on to the next event.”
Taj Burrow in the Final – Photo by ASP
Though many controversies have arisen lately regarding judging criteria, both surfers proved that they earned their places in the Final of the respected Bells Beach event. Mick was able to defeat young gun Julian Wilson in the Semifinals, while Taj managed to progress and knock out Hawaiian John John Florence in his Semi. Taj also conquered the reigns over event defending champion Adriano de Souza in the Quarterfinals, causing upset to the Brazilian.
All in all, stop number 3 and last Australian event of the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour was a terrific contest, with many stand out performances. From John John’s first perfect 10 of competition for 2014, to Carissa taking out the Women’s event earlier on this same day, Bells always delivers the goods and is up there with one of the most entertaining, prestigious events on the tour.
SurfStitch would like to congratulate Mick Fanning on the third Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach victory, as well as Taj Burrow for his great runner-up effort. We all now look forward to the next stop of the Tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil starting May 7 -18. Keep up to date with all the latest news and results here on the SurfStitch blog, or watch live at aspworldtour.com.