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Mick Fanning Wins The 2016 J-Bay Open

You can’t script this!

Or maybe you can?

“Who’s ready to write Mick’s Hollywood ending?” Josh Kerr asked, to nobody in particular, as Mick paddled out against John Florence in the final of the 2016 J-Bay Open. “This whole thing is just begging to made into a [Quentin] Tarantino movie.”

It sure is.

After six days in a holding pattern the J-Bay Open finally got back underway this morning in 2- to- 3 foot Supertubes. Although far from amazing, it was much improved from yesterday evening when Mick was out groveling at the top of the point alone at dark, while dribbly one footers closed out on the mussel covered rocks. I watched him catch his last wave in the dark while standing with Rip Curl team manager Ryan Fletcher, and I reminded Fletch of the time Mick said he wouldn’t be surfing J-Bay in the early mornings or late evenings after what happened out here in the final last year. “Yep, well it looks like he lied to us all,” Fletch said, with a laugh. “It just shows you how bad he wants to win this thing.”

He certainly did. Mick arrived here a week before the event started, and in his second surf back, badly tweaked his ankle. He spent 4 days in a boot and his status for the event was in question up until the evening before Round 1. And while it was initially thought to be a high ankle sprain, Mick’s MRI revealed the damage he’d done was, in fact, far worse than that. He’d torn a ligament in the front of his ankle. Grade 4.

Yet he’s still surfing. And, obviously, quite well.

This morning, after handily beating Filipe Toledo in the last quarterfinal and Julian Wilson in the second semi (a rematch of last year’s final), Mick was looking unstoppable. He was riding a swallowtail, channel bottom DHD that worked to perfection, and midway through the final against John Florence Mick locked into the best wave of the morning, surfed it flawlessly, and got rewarded with a 9.93. Parko thought it was a 10. Ryan Callinan reckons he surfed it too perfect for the average surfer to understand. Regardless, it was enough to take a very deserving win.

Last year Mick’s Mom looked on from behind a computer at home in Oz during Mick’s now-famous shark encounter, and she broke down in tears. This year she was here to watch Mick surf the final in person, and as soon as Joel Parkinson and Dean Harrington set Mick down in the competitor’s area Mick headed straight over to his Mom, gave her the biggest hug, and she broke down in tears — of joy and relief, this time.

Yep, all is well that ends well. Especially this story.