SEIGNOSSE, France (Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007) – Mick Fanning (AUS) the newly crowned 2007 Quiksilver Pro France Champion, is mathematically capable of clinching his maiden Foster’s ASP World Title in Mundaka, Spain next week. Fanning beat South Africa’s Greg Emslie, in three to five foot (one to one half meter) surf at Les Bourdaines this afternoon.
“I’m just so stoked to have another win under my belt,” Fanning, who also won the first event of the year on the Gold Coast of Australia, said. “I’m pumped! After the semis I really realized that you had to have the best waves to win, so that’s what I did. I just sat and waited for the whole time.”
Fanning caught four waves to Emslie’s 12, but garnered his winning heat total of 18.43 (out of 20.00) with his first two rides – the second of which he scored a near perfect 9.93 (out of 10) for.
“That wave just sat up really, really nicely and I was able to get some good turns off,” Fanning said. “I’m just stoked, that’s about all I can say.”
Fanning could clinch the title with a win in Spain should his closest threats, reigning World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Taj Burrow (AUS), not make it to the Semifinals. If he finishes 2nd in Spain, Slater and Burrow have to post a 5th place or better to keep their title aspirations alive.
“There’s no pressure at all in Mundaka for the title,” Fanning said. “I’m just doing what I’ve been doing, taking it heat by heat. You can’t win in the final if you don’t win the first round, so yeah, you’ve just got to take it heat by heat.”
Emslie’s final berth against Fanning’s was not only the best result of his eight-year elite-tour career, it was also the first Foster’s ASP World Tour final a South African has made in 20 years. Emslie surfed amazingly through out the event, but was no match for the current World No. 1.
“It was pretty tough out there,” Emslie said. “I could see that Mick was in a good rhythm and I just didn’t know how I could break it. There weren’t too many set waves and the tide was coming in. When you’ve got an in form surfer like Mick getting the set waves, it’s hard to come back. Either way it was a fun final. Mick is ripping and I recon he’s going to be world champ this year for sure.”
Emslie, who sits 27th in the ratings after his 2nd place finish, beat current World No. 4 and defending Quiksilver Pro France Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) in the Semifinals.
“I had a great event, I really enjoyed it,” Emslie said. “It was just great with all the different mix of waves this week that I managed to pull through to the final. I’m pretty happy with the fact that I kept consistent throughout all the different waves.”
Fanning beat fellow Australian Troy Brooks in the Semifinals. Brooks had the lead with six minutes to go, but Fanning scored an 8.00 and 9.67 in quick succession to leave Brooks needing a 9.18 he never found.
“I finally got a few good ones out there,” Brooks said. “I sort of put the pressure on Mick, but that’s why he’s No. 1 I guess, because he came out of it and smashed me.”
Previous to the last two events, Brooks had four 33rds and one 17th place finish. His Quarterfinal berth in California and equal 3rd this event have moved him to 28th in the ratings. The Top 27 guys on the World Tour automatically requalify at the end of the year.
“It doesn’t really guarantee my requalification for next year,” Brooks said. “This just moves me on the borderline. At this moment I shouldn’t be in this spot as it is, but with this little roll, as long as I keep going, I should be alright. Hopefully I do well in Mundaka next week and then in Brazil since I’ve always gotten a result there. Hawaii has a bit of juice which I’m used to coming up from Bells. So who knows.”
The next Foster’s ASP World Tour event, Stop. 8 of 10 on this year’s tour, begins in Mundaka, Spain on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007.