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|Mick Fanning - 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour Champion|
|Thursday, 08 November 2007|
MBITUBA, Brazil (Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007) -Australian
Mick Fanning clinched his maiden Foster’s ASP World Title after winning
the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil today. Fanning was in the
water about to surf a semifinal heat against childhood friend Joel
Parkinson (AUS) when Taj Burrow (AUS) was eliminated by Tom Whitaker
(AUS) and his lifelong dream was realized.
“I woke up this morning and I just had a good feeling that it was going to happen today,” Fanning said. “It was so amazing to be out there with Joel. When I realized I’d won I went, ‘What do we do Joel?’ and he was like, ‘I don’t know!’ I was just so stoked to share my first ever heat as the World Champion with him. It was amazing.”
Fanning surfed a signature heat to beat Parkinson 18.70 to 12.84 in Semifinal 1 before defending his Brazilian title by beating rookie Kai Otton (AUS) in the final to win the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro. The win marks his 9th Foster’s ASP World Tour event win.
Americans Kelly Slater and Andy Irons have monopolized the World Title for the last five years but Fanning’s win today makes him the first Australian to clinch a men’s ASP World Title since Mark ‘Occy” Occhilupo did so in Brazil in 1999.
“To take the reins over from Oc is incredible,” Fanning said. “He is pretty much the legend of the sport. He’s such a character and such a cool guy. Even when I’ve been on tour with Andy, he’s such a determined guy as well and I was there for his first world title. And then there’s Kelly – the guy who gave inspiration to every kid who surfs today, he’s amazing.”
The 26-year-old’s ascent to ASP World Champion has not transpired without tribulation. Raised by a single mother who now manages his career, Fanning lost his older brother Sean, also a gifted surfer, in a car accident as a teenager. The two were extremely close and Fanning felt his presence in the water today.
“It was so cool with Joel out there in the final and there was a dolphin out there, I’m not sure if it was my brother or what,” Fanning said. “Every heat I’ve had today there has been a dolphin right there in the lineup, just chilling.”
Born in West Sydney, Fanning, his siblings and mother moved to Coolangatta on the Gold Coast of Australia when he was very young. He grew up surfing with Parkinson and top rated surfer Dean Morrison (AUS) who are known collectively as the “Cooly Kids.”
“Joel and Dean are the reason that I train so hard,” Fanning said. “When I was a kid those guys used to smoke me all the time. I was always trying to be better than those guys.”
Fanning made his Foster’s ASP World Tour debut in 2002 after finishing No. 1 in the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) the year prior. An impressive 5th place finish his first year on the elite tour earned him highest rookie result of all time, an honor he now shares with 2006 Rookie of the Year, Bobby Martinez (USA).
Fanning’s six-year professional career has seen him make a steady ascent to the No. 1 position he held for the entirety of the 2007 season. After a 5th place debut in 2002, Fanning finished World No. 4 in 2003, World No. 3 in 2005 and 2006 and World No. 1 today.
Fanning’s lowest rating on the Foster’s ASP World Tour – World No. 7 in 2004 – came about after he suffered potentially career-ending injury half way through the season. He tore his hamstring from the bone in a freesurfing incident, but came back from that injury to win the first event of the 2005 season at his home break in Snapper Rocks.
“That’s what life is,” Fanning said. “It goes up and down. You’ve got to take the good with the bad and even though I was injured it was probably the best six months of my life. I didn’t have to worry about surfing. I had fun with my friends and at the end of it I found the girl that I love and want to marry so even though it was bad for my body it was a million more times better for my mind and my heart.”
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