Fanning went down in a barrel shootout against Slater, despite opening up with an impressive scoreline and an early lead, the Kirra local would ultimately fall short in the dying moments of the heat – 18.60 to 19.37.
And, while top seeds Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson found themselves eliminated in Round 3, Fanning looked flawless against Raoni Monteiro, advancing through three rounds of competition to land himself a spot in the Quarterfinals.
Unfortunately for Fanning, an inspired performance by Adriano De Souza, in clean 6ft Bells, put the Australian's plans on ice and he was eliminated from the event with an equal fifth place finish. Photo: ASP/ Kirstin
"I started off with a 9.2 only to look back as see Kelly Slater doing the Jesus Christ on the one behind it. When Kelly didn't get a ten on his first wave, I thought I was still in it but then he shut the door." - Mick Fanning.
In the Final, he quickly found himself backed up against the wall with Gabriel Medina in the lead. The two-time World Champion stuck to his game plan and attacked a bumpy righthander with all his power to scalp an excellent 8.83 and steal the show.
After the shock elimination of Kelly Slater by wildcard Frederico Morais during Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Fanning, demonstrated his signature speed and power to advance into the third round.
"The World Title is something that takes a whole year, but sometimes it can feel like it boils down to the final day and the final heats. To win on a day like this at Pipeline makes it that much more special."
“I’ve never put myself in the same circles as Tom Curren and Andy Irons. Tom (Curren) is such an enigma and was so instrumental to injecting style into our sport. Andy (Irons)…what hasn’t been said about Andy? He was such a legend and he was such a good friend. I’m honored to be a part of this group." - Mick Fanning