A year after he tussled with a great white shark on live television, three-time WSL champion Mick Fanning took the title of the JBay leg of the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League Championship Tour, denying John John what would have been his first.
Fanning’s air of calm and collectiveness was a constant throughout this race, even when history had the chance to repeat itself with Fanning and Wilson once again battling it out for a place in the final.
Mitch remained unruffled and unafraid as he sat waiting for the biggest set waves to roll in. Selectivity seemed to be his game plan, whilst John John found air off some off the smaller but clean wave faces.
The conditions were good for the final heats, with 3-4ft sets rolling in onto JBay’s reef and it was on his first wave that John John casually busted a full 360.
Despite following it with a plethora of full rail carves and air reverses that earned him waves above the 8.0-point threshold, Fanning eventually took the win with a final wave score of 17.70.
John John’s finishing place may not have been exactly what he wanted, but it’s evidence of a tightened game plan that’s catapulted him up to 2nd place in the JEEP Leaderboard rankings; where he’ll sit just behind Matt Wilkinson as they head to Tahiti for the Billabong Pro leg of the tour.
And there’s no better proving ground than Teahupoo.