Australian Mick Fanning has won the ASP world surfing tour by scoring a 9.7 during the fifth round of the quarter-final heats at Hawaii’s legendary Pipeline. His come-from-behind triumph means that Fanning is now one of only five surfers to have achieved three ASP crowns. Coming into Pipeline it was down to Fanning and world all-time great Kelly Slater. But in order for Slater to win his 12th ASP title, Fanning would have had to miss the semi-finals – and he nearly did before his incredible near perfect run.
I just saw the set on the horizon, and I thought ‘Alright, whatever’s going to come, I’m just going to try and pick the right one’. That wave came and it was so beautiful. I’m just overwhelmed with emotion right now, it’s incredible.
–Mick Fanning (via ABC/AAP)
Despite not achieving his 11th world title, Kelly Slater still emerged as the king of Pipeline, earning his 7th Billabong Pipe Masters victory. The American bested Hawaii’s John John Florence by only half a point. Florence himself secured the 2013 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing championship, making this end of the year Pipeline competition result in a trio of champions. Slater has previously alluded to his possible retirement following the 2013 Pipeline event.
After his 56th elite tour victory Slater spoke about the possibility of leaving the ASP World Tour:
Last year, someone asked me what excited me in the end years of my career and I said I would like to surf a Final at Pipe against John John (Florence) so that’s pretty special today. To win is even better. I want to surf against the best surfers at the best waves – that’s why I’m on tour. I was obviously emotional today, especially after Mick (Fanning) clinched the title in the Quarters. I don’t know what happens for me in 2014 but I think that has pissed me off just enough to come back.
–Kelly Slater (via ASP International)
So it looks like a victory at Pipeline and a number-two world ranking are just enough to keep the all-time great around for at least another year.