Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) took a giant step towards a fourth title when he defeated compatriot Joel Parkinson in the Final of the J-Bay Open in simply sensational waves at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay.
Stop No. 6 of 11 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the J-Bay Open enjoyed an excellent opening day of competition and great surf during the holding period before all the elements came together to produce an epic finale in pumping 6-10 foot (2-3 metre) hollow waves.
Fanning was on fire from the outset of the Final, seamlessly threading together powerful rail work and deep tubes in the double overhead waves to rack up a 17.00 point total in the first half of the 45 minute encounter. Parkinson, the 2012 ASP World Champion and like Fanning a previous two-time winner at J-Bay, fought his way back into contention with rides of 7.43 and 6.17 but was still looking for 9.57 points when time ran out.
“I never dreamed that I would get to surf a J-Bay final with Joel (Parkinson),” Fanning said on the podium. “I’m so tired but it’s a dream-come-true kind of day. I had a great start with that 9.00 ride but there were still 40 minutes to go and anything could have happened.”
“Joel is one of my favourite surfers and my best friend, we’ve known each other since we were kids. I’m so stoked, it was such an incredible day of waves and I’m just so thankful that I got to surf it. A big thanks to Cheron (Kraak), Koffie (Jacobs) and the ASP for bringing the event back to Jeffreys Bay.”
The victory, Fanning’s second of the season after Bells Beach in April, moved him up to No. 3 on the ASP WCT rankings behind Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Parkinson
Joel Parkinson was gracious in defeat and equally complimentary about the quality of the surf at Supertubes.
“It was an amazing heat and Mick (Fanning) is such a good tactician,” Parkinson said. “I made a couple of bad decisions and I just didn’t get the right waves. It would’ve been nice to get a win but that was a brilliant day of surfing and it was so wonderful to be part of it. I feel like surfing won today. There was just so much good surfing and the waves were incredible.”
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) was eliminated by Parkinson in the first Semifinal when the eventual runner-up posted a an 8.83 and backed that up with a perfect 10 point ride to leave his giant-killing compatriot needing to replace both his scores. Wilkinson, who had previously dispatched 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in Round 3 and 2007 J-Bay winner Taj Burrow (AUS) in the Quarterfinals, fought back with a series of swooping turns on his backhand to earn a 9.77 but was ultimately still short of 9.07 points.
“I’m so stoked to have made it to the Semifinals,” Wilkinson said. “I came into this competition with almost no results so far this year, but I feel that I’ve improved in every heat. It feels really great to have so much support, especially for the goofy footers who have done so well at this event.”
In the second Semifinal Owen Wright (AUS) built on his victory over ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA) in their quarterfinal encounter, taking the early lead against Fanning. But the reigning ASP World Champion took control with rides of 7.17 and 8.0 before posting an excellent 9.00. Despite Wright earning a 7.23 to get out of a combination situation, he still needed a near-perfect 9.77 when the siren sounded.
“I chose a couple of wrong waves at the start of the heat and that really set me back,” Wright said. “Mick (Fanning) was just clinical in his approach to the heat. I feel so privileged just to be here, competing at J-Bay. It has been by far the best event for me, I’m loving it.”
Legendary surfers Tom Curren (USA) and Mark Occhilupo (AUS) took to the water in front of an enthralled crowd at Jeffreys Bay for the first instalment of the ASP Heritage Series. The series is designed to celebrate and honour the foundational contributors to the sport of surfing by showcasing rematches between iconic surfers.
Curren, a three-time ASP World Champion (1985, 1986, 1990) and Occhilupo, 1999 ASP World Champion and the winner of the first ASP event in J-Bay in 1984, did battle in the epic conditions. Curren posted a perfect 10 putting the Australian in a combination situation and even though Occhilupo took a final long ride down point he was unable to post the excellent scores needed to take win.
“I got a little carried away during that 10 point wave – the waves were so good,” Curren said. “It’s Sonny’s (Miller, the renowned surf filmmaker who passed away earlier this week) birthday today so I just want to dedicate this to him. I love J-Bay, the waves are amazing and the people are wonderful. It’s so great to watch all the guys compete here in such good conditions.”
“I had a blast out there, I think me and Tom (Curren) put on a show,” Occhilupo said. “That was sensational. It was all about surfing J-Bay in all its perfection and putting on a great show for the crowd. Tom (Curren) ripped and it was also great fun. I think the ASP Heritage Series will really grow legs I look forward to seeing other legends match up.”
J-Bay Open Final Result:
Winner: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00
Runner-up: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.60
J-Bay Open Semifinal Results:
SF1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.83 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.54
SF2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.50
J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Results:
QF1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.50 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.33
QF2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.44
QF3: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.40 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.07
QF4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.66 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.67
J-Bay Open Round 5 Results:
H1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.33 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.04
H2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.34
H3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.17 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.10
H4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.67 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.13
J-Bay Open Heritage Series Results:
Tom Curren (USA) 18.83 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 12.16
ASP World Championship Tour Rankings (after Stop No. 6 – J-Bay Open)
1. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 36 150 points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 34 400 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 32 650 pts
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 31 950 pts
5. Michel Bourez (PYF) 30 500 pts