Mick Fanning, emotion, and Joel Parkinson, shared joy, Hawaii
Mick Fanning is the world champion. Yesterday at the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Hawaii, Mick pulled off what seemed preordained and what he’d been working for all year: He held on long enough to ensure that even if Kelly Slater won the event (which he did), Mick would still take the big trophy. Mick’s first real […]
Mick Fanning is the world champion. Yesterday at the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Hawaii, Mick pulled off what seemed preordained and what he’d been working for all year: He held on long enough to ensure that even if Kelly Slater won the event (which he did), Mick would still take the big trophy.
Mick’s first real test came in the form of CJ Hobgood, in the first heat of the day. Oily 10 foot sets jacked the lineup and Mick greased his heat win with a Pipe bomb in the final minutes. “It wasn’t easy,” said Mick. “If you want to win a world title, you have to put it all on the line. I basically got flogged for 28 minutes of that heat before that gem came through. I heard from all the boys whistling on the beach and I knew it was going to be a good one when it came in. I got a roll in off of second reef and it set up for a really good section on first reef. Came through at the right time and that was definitely a magic moment for me.”
If Mick was to win his following heat, with Yadin Nicol, the title would be his. Again, with just minutes remaining and Mick needing a score, he steered through another Pipe bomb. What happened next has made online commentators furious but shouldn’t, because re-watching the wave on heat analyser will show how perfect it was. Mick scooped a 9.70 and the he became a world champ for the third time. “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,” said Mick. “I’m sure I gave my wife Karissa and my mum enough stress today to last a lifetime. I was never worried myself now that I think of it. I knew what I needed to do and if the opportunity came, I knew I could do it. That opportunity came in both heats today. It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve been having fun all year and to clinch on a day like this at Pipeline makes it that much more special.”
Which leads us to the photograph we see here, taken by Ryan Miller. Last year, when Joel Parkinson won his first world title, his best pal Mick Fanning was the first person to meet him on the sand (wearing a Go Parko shirt no less) and chair him up the beach. This year, Joel returned the favour, meeting Mick on the sand immediately after his heat with Yadin, waiting with him for the final deciding score to drop, screaming when it did, and then carrying him up the beach. Two childhood pals, two world champs. It’s Mick’s party and he’ll cry if he wants to.
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