PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii – Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, has been crowned the 2009 ASP World Champion, following a stunning performance at the Banzai Pipeline.
Heading into the final stop of the 2009 ASP World Tour season, Fanning held the ASP ratings’ lead over fellow Gold Coast surfer Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, and with Parkinson’s Round 3 exit in today’s Billabong Pipe Masters at the hands of wildcard Gavin Gillette (HAW), 23, Fanning secured his second ASP World Title.
“I’m just a bit overwhelmed right now and I don’t quite know what to say,” Fanning said. “It was hard out there. I was trying to get ready for my heat and then Gavin (Gillette) got that one score as I was paddling out and, I don’t know, I just sort of slowed down.”
For the first time since 2003, the ASP World Title came down to the final event of the season at the Billabong Pipe Masters.
“This title is way more fun,” Fanning said. “I was much more relaxed for this one – besides the last few days, I was really nervous.”
The 2009 ASP World Tour season will go down in history as one of the most dramatic, with Parkinson winning three of the first five events before Fanning rallied in the latter half of the season to overtake his good friend.
“I knew I was surfing well,” Fanning said. “It was just a matter of getting that result. I knew it was going to turn around sooner or later. I don’t know, it’s weird the way the world works.”
Fanning’s 2009 ASP World Tour results are as follows:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: Equal 3rd
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Equal 5th
Billabong Pro Teahupoo: Equal 9th
Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro: Equal 5th
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay: Equal 17th
Hurley Pro Trestles: WINNER
Quiksilver Pro France: WINNER
Billabong Pro Mundaka: Equal 9th
Rip Curl Pro Search: WINNER
Billabong Pipeline Masters: Equal 9th
In the end, and reminiscent of Fanning’s 2007 ASP World Title (clinched in Brazil), the lightning-fast natural-footer was in the water with Parkinson (in between heats) as the scene unfolded. The two lifelong friends embraced, exchanged words and paddled in separate directions.
“We just sort of sat there and hugged and chatted about what’s happened over the last few days and how nervous we both were,” Fanning said. “It was hard to watch what happened to him this year. He had such a stranglehold on the tour and then he had that ankle injury, so as a friend it was hard to watch that. If I wasn’t in the race I would have been gunning for Joel for sure.”
For securing the 2009 ASP World Title, Fanning has also been awarded and extra $50,000 from the Vans Triple Threat bonus package.
While the 2009 ASP World Title has been decided, the 2009 ASP World Tour season is far from over with one more day of competition remaining at the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Following his clinching of the 2009 ASP World Title, Fanning fell to Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, in the opening heat of Round 4.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com