Sport Other Sports Mick Fanning hangs in to win third Bells title

Mick Fanning hangs in to win third Bells title

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Three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning is now also a triple winner of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.

The 32-year-old had the best of an all-Australian final against Taj Burrow on Wednesday, winning 16.83 points to 13.46.

Fanning won his first tour title as a wildcard at Bells way back in 2001 and also saluted at the iconic Victorian break in 2012.

Fanning advanced to the final by recording the highest two-wave score of the competition (18.20) in his semi-final over countryman Julian Wilson.

West Australian Burrow, who won the 2007 Rip Curl Pro at Bells, downed Hawaiian excitement machine John John Florence 14.43 to 13.43 in the semis.

The semi-finals and final were contested at nearby Winkipop after conditions deteriorated in the Bells bowl.

After a slow start to his world title defence, Fanning has moved to third in the world title race behind Brazilian Gabriel Medina and Australian Joel Parkinson after three of 11 events.

Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater, defending Bells title-holder Adriano de Souza from Brazil and Parkinson were all eliminated in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

“That last nine minutes was so nerve-wracking,” said Fanning.

“I went for waves thinking they were going to be good and they weren’t.

“Then I turned around and saw Taj on one and thought ‘oh no, what’s he going to do?’ And then it didn’t work out for him.

“I’m just so happy.”

Fanning said Bells had always been a special event for him.

“The first ever trip away I did was down here back when I was 15 or 16,” he said.

” .. I’ve been coming here every year.

“This is probably the only thing I know about Easter, coming here.”

The Queenslander’s world title defence is now right back on track after disappointing performances at the season-opening events on the Gold Coast and Margaret River.

“Those first two events I didn’t really hit the reset button hard enough,” he said.

“I think I got halfway there but not really.”