Farewell for Fanning and fourth World Title for Gilmore at Bells Beach
6 April 2018
SURFING: It was a landmark day for Australian surfing, with Stephanie Gilmore claiming the women's No.1 ranking after beating Hawaiian Tatiana Weston-Webb at Bells Beach, while surfing legend Mick Fanning finished second in his final competition.
In a nail-biting finish in the women's decider, Gilmore thought she might have blown it when she let Weston-Webb have the last wave with less than a minute left.
"That was a crazy way to finish a final, I think I chewed off all my fingernails" Gilmore said.
Weston-Webb needed a 6.80 wave score and was awarded 6.57, giving Gilmore her fourth title at Bells Beach.
The six-time world champion is the first Australian winner of the women's title at Bells since 2012.
Suring royalty Fanning is happy with how his epic professional surfing story ended, despite narrowly missing out on a fairytale finish.
The Australian surfing great lost to Brazilian Italo Ferreira in a pulsating final in Victoria.
Fanning had been the center of attention at Bells Beach and, most of all, he wanted to put on a show in his retirement event.
But if Fanning felt any disappointment, he hid it well.
"When I got teary on stage, it was just the family," he said.
"You try and bring words to thank them, from what we've been through ... good, bad, funny.
"There are no words to describe that, so maybe a tears just enough."
While there were tears, Fanning otherwise cracked jokes and paid rich tribute to Ferreira, who claimed his first title on the world tour.
Ferreira, 23, fully appreciated the magnitude of beating Fanning at Bells Beach for his maiden tour success.
"It was crazy. This guy (Mick Fanning) was like a hero for me," he said.
Had Fanning won the Rip Curl Pro, the 36-year-old would have bowed out of pro surfing as the event's first five-time champion and the world No.1 ranking. ranking.
While this marks the end of Fanning's run, the World Championship Tour continues at the Margarite River Pro in Western Australia on April 11.