Stab Magazine | Mick Fanning Will Win His Fourth Title This Year
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Mick Fanning Will Win His Fourth Title This Year

Story by Jed Smith “Mick Fanning will win the world title this year,” says leading world tour pundit and 1998 Pipe Master Jake ‘Snake’ Paterson. The former World Tour commentator, Quiksilver team manager and World Tour veteran cannot see Fanning relinquishing his hold over the gold leader’s jersey heading into France, an event that’s traditionally […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Story by Jed Smith

“Mick Fanning will win the world title this year,” says leading world tour pundit and 1998 Pipe Master Jake ‘Snake’ Paterson. The former World Tour commentator, Quiksilver team manager and World Tour veteran cannot see Fanning relinquishing his hold over the gold leader’s jersey heading into France, an event that’s traditionally been his strongpoint.

“He is just too solid in all conditions,” says Snake. “He has an amazing Quik Pro record, if not the best France record of all time. He’s won in Portugal before and has come a long way at surfing Pipe to where he’s with the best of them. So I can’t see him losing from here.”

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Classic Fanning in France, back in 2005. Pray for waves like this. Photo: WSL/Pierre Tostee

1988 World Champ and leading Australian surf coach, Barton Lynch, agrees: “Mick’s just got so much experience and knowledge and confidence,” he says, pointing to his dramatic 2013 World Title win at the Pipe Masters in which Mick scratched into two waves in consecutive heats in the final minute to claim victory.

“That kind of experience teaches you it’s largely out of your control, you’re just along the ride,” says Barton. “And that confidence, you can’t fake it, you can’t buy it, you gotta earn it. He’s the only guy in the race that has that confidence and can go into these situations on auto-pilot and have the confidence that (the ocean) is going to do the right thing by him. Everyone else is uncertain and they will have that doubt in their mind that creates hiccoughs when you least need them.”

With two Tour victories already this year, Brazilian world number three, Filipe Toledo, will be Mick’s biggest threat, says Snake. Should the wind flare up through Europe as it tends to do, turning the hollow beach breaks into wedgy ramps conducive to airs, the Brazilian’s hopes will strengthen. And, a quarterfinal finish at Pipe last year proves he’s no slouch in the juice.

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Filipe duz Lowers. Well. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

“If he gets on a roll he could be deadly,” says Snake.

For world number two, Adriano De Souza, his biggest enemy will be himself, says Barton.

“His biggest problem is the massive amount of desire creating pressure in his own mind,” he says. “You only learn how to manage that through a few failures where you can figure out how to control it and it eventually comes together for you.”

“For Adriano (a title) means too much to him and when it means so much to you it creates pressure and it can create problems in your head and make things more difficult than it needs to be.”

At the other end of the draw, it’s do or die for Dusty Payne. The Hawaiian freesurfing star has failed to make it past the third round this year, putting him at 34th on the ratings and in desperate need of a result. “He’s been disappointing to say the least,” says Snake. “He has shown moments of putting it together but he just doesn’t have the consistency needed at this level.”

Payne takes on reigning World Champ and former Quiksilver Pro, France winner Gabriel Medina in his opening heat. While fellow bottom dweller, Kolohe Andino, looks certain to escape relegation after a win at the recent Cascais Pro QS10000. He now sits first on the Qualifying Series, which locks him a spot on Tour for next year.

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Dusty will need to find form in the last few events if he hopes to re-qualify. This is Peniche a coupla years back, a place where he can’t afford to poorly in 2015. Photo: WSL

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