Mick Fanning at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Shorty/Red Bull Photofiles

Mick Fanning's strong run at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach led him all the way to the Final, where he met up with a resurgent Kelly Slater at alternate location Johanna Beach in Victoria, Australia.

Fanning had defeated Jordy Smith by a narrow margin in the Quarterfinals – an extraordinary 14.20 to Jordy’s 14.00 – and then laid waste to ASP Tour leader Taj Burrow’s hopes of back-to-back event wins in the Semis, Burrow having himself defeated Adriano de Souza in the Quarters.

Slater, meanwhile, ended the spirited run of Michel Bourez in round four, then dispatched Bede Durbidge and Bobby Martinez for his Final berth.

"Kelly can do anything, even when he's injured." -Mick Fanning

Fanning put together a slick series of moves in the Final to go ahead after the first run, but a spectacular alley-oop aerial from Slater in the subsequent round gave him an unassailable advantage, all the more impressive considering the hairline fracture he has been carrying since the competition’s early stages.

"A runner-up finish is great, but I would have loved to win," Fanning commented. "I couldn't seem to find a rhythm out there and Kelly can do anything, even when he's injured.

“Still, though, it was a great finish for the event and I want to thank all the locals down in Johanna for letting us surf out here today."

Burrow still tops the overall with 16,500 points, while it’s a close run between Slater and Jordy Smith for second and third, with the American and the South African's points standings at 13,750 and 13,250, respectively. Mick Fanning sits fifth with 11,750 points.

The next round of the ASP Tour is the Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil starting on April 23. For more information, head to aspworldtour.com


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