Australian Mick Fanning has won a record-equalling fourth title at Bells Beach, edging out Brazilian Adriano de Souza in the final on a tiebreak.
The pair both recorded a two-wave score of 15.27 points, with Fanning claiming the crown on countback due to a higher single-wave score of 8.17.
The 33-year-old reached the final by beating American Nat Young 16.70 to 14.23 in the semis, while compatriot Josh Kerr’s two-wave score of 9.87 was not enough to get past de Souza (14.84) in their clash.
De Souza beat countryman and reigning world champion Gabriel Medina in a low-scoring quarter-final – 11.60 to 8.33.
Fanning now moves to the top of the world rankings as he chases a fourth world crown.
“I’m so stoked,” said Fanning, who rang the bell for the first time as a wildcard back in 2001 and also claimed victories here in 2012 and 2014.
“It was a really tough one this year.
“All credit to Adriano to tie — it’s so heartbreaking.”
The Brazilian made the early running in Thursday’s final but Fanning controlled the closing stages of the decider.
Fanning and young Brazilian Filipe Toledo sit atop the world rankings after two events with 15,200 points.
Toledo won last month’s season-opening event at Snapper Rocks, but was upset in the quarter-finals at Bells on Thursday by Young.
Fanning’s victory drew him level with Australian great Mark Richards and 11-time world champ Kelly Slater with four Bells titles.
“I’m so honoured to be anywhere near those guys,” Fanning said.
“MR (Richards) for me is the greatest … he was so classy in the water, so to be there with him is amazing.
“And with Kelly, what else is there to say about him?”
The women’s title is set to be decided on Friday.
Australians Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons are among the quarter-finalists.