Mick Fanning Wins Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

posted by / News / April 6, 2012

Mick Fanning, focused. Photo: Macfarlane

Mick Fanning, focused. Photo: Macfarlane

Mick Fanning, fun. Photo: Macfarlane

Mick Fanning, fun. Photo: Macfarlane


“That was not a 10!” Yells the 9-year-old kid in the bleachers. His face is red and he’s leaning over the railing. “What are you looking at, judges!?!”

The child repeats that phrase, or something to that effect, several times in response to Kelly Slater’s perfect 10. We are now midway through the final and Kelly just spun a full-rotation frontside-360 air, a score that lifts him out of being combinationed by a swooping and powerful Mick Fanning. Kelly’s 10 vacuums the energy out of the Mick-happy crowd. Surely this is the start of another Kelly comeback. Oh, the drama.



Kelly backs up his 10 with an 8.07, taking the lead. Mick needs a 9. The kid in the bleachers is still yelling at the judges. “How are you going to give a 10 for one maneuver!?!” Suddenly the crowd is cheering. A set is stacking and Mick is alone in its path. The feathering lip runs down from Rincon toward the Bowl where Mick strokes into the overhead wall. Kelly is on the inside and has a better view than any of the thousands of spectators witnessing the historic final. Mick drives hard off the bottom and arcs perfectly off the top, then hits repeat, surfing Bells as any red-blooded, Rip-Curled Australian should. He earns a 9.7. Slater is now in an 8.8-needing situation.

Try as he might, Kelly can only summon a pair of 8.07s to back up his 10. Mick has won and the crowd roars again. It is reenergized. They hoot, applaud and whistle as Mick ascends the stairs wearing a winner’s grin. He eventually makes it to the stage to ring the Bell for the first time in over a decade. Kelly sprays him with a thick stream of Champagne. Mick smiles. Mick laughs. Mick rings the Bell once more. The yelling child is still yelling, but now he’s yelling, “We love you Mick!” —Taylor Paul

Author’s Note: The 10 in question: The crowd was probably split as to whether or not Kelly deserved the score. The situation reminded me of the interview we did with ASP head judge Richie Porta. In it he explained how the judges determine the few10s they give: “You feel them, mainly,” said Richie. “They don’t come very often. But you know it when you see something that can’t be anything other than a 10.” And when Kelly punted and stomped that air, I’ll admit (I was rooting for Mick), this one felt like a 10. Does it really matter that it was just one maneuver? Yes, it does. Because if judges weren’t able to drop 10s for one maneuver, contest surfing would suffer. We’d regress toward three-to-the-beach and would rarely see moves like the Hail Mary that Kelly through today. Good job Kelly. Good job judges. And sorry yelling child, you were wrong.

[In the next couple of weeks we will release a Flipbook on the Rip Curl Pro. It will be a relatively comprehensive look at the event and well worth returning for, even though you already know the ending.]

See the Rip Curl Pro 2011 Flipbook while you patiently wait

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  • yar

    mfanning is stinky

  • Honey Badger

    I agree, that was no 10 that Kelly got, but that DEFINITELY was no 9.7 that Mick got. Kelly should have won that heat, but just barely. The judging during the whole event was wack to say the least.

  • Riles

    Mick is a 10 surfer with huge power and he played it well Bells charging hard. I’m a fan of both inspired by different styles from both sides. But, judging and not to discredit MG, Kelly’s scores were higher hands down. The airs a lone were 10’s and that last one was off the Effie chart.

  • Billy Bonicci

    Kelly was robbed. He still showed why he is number 1, in accepting poor judging like a gentleman.

  • BigChuck

    I’ll second that, he was robbed! Vickies got him, pure and simple. Now go win number 12 and put these kids to bed.

  • Matt O’Brien

    NOT EVEN CLOSE BUD… Kelly beat Mick – but the judges beat Kelly. Stupid Stupid Stupid… at least Kelly is in front of race. That was a joke and even Mick knew it. Disgusting way to end a Perfect event. BS!!!!! Kinda like going on a rad surf trip and getting into a head on car accident just before you get home – it ruins the whole trip. I feel like the judges crashed head first into the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro. Shame Shame Shame.. but No love lost for Mick – it ain’t his fault the judges SUCK!

  • Matt O’Brien

    ALSO: just after awards ceremony – MP ripped the Comp Site a new one just to let em know he thinks Kelly won too. ha ha ha

  • earl

    hey matt, you are dead wrong. dead wrong. obviously you are a fanboy and didn’t watch the heat. i doubt you can even get above the lip and are another douche on here stirring up the crap.

  • North Shore

    Kelly was robbed.
    Won the final by far.

  • dirt

    Some of you people are KOOKS. Speed, power and FLOW, Micks 9.7 was a perfect example of this. Linking 3 flawless turns together on a wave with a bump on it, without losing speed or bogging rail is SO hard.

  • dirt

    BTW. Its about time this happend to Kelly, Usually the other way around.

  • eastside

    Speed, flow, power…. and not falling usually gets you a 9+. No way he gets a 9.7 on that wave. 9.0 at best. Kelly’s wave was at least a 9. Even if they gave them the same scores then KS wins. Kelly had one sick new school trick and one more power/carving surfing with a carving 360. He showed both styles. Even here in Hawaii the local news sportscaster was showing the rides and Mick falling at the end and saying 9.7? he then goes on to say, Aussie surfer, in Australia in a contest sponsered by the company Mick rides for and then added something about protecting MR’s record and left at that… you do the math. bottom line, Mick and kelly killed it. Both insane surfers who were on fire. if there was ever a time to have a runoff tiebreaker or hell, crown two champs, then maybe this was it. I woudl have loved to see them say, F’it, you both win :-) otherwise, nod had to go to KS.

  • dgb

    When is surfing going to get over this vile obscenity of giving 10 points to a one maneuver wave? Yes, it was good, but Kelly, with all due respect, took off on a cloesout and did one maneuver. I can’t wait for the finals where pros just spend the entire time taking off on closeouts and go for air reverses. The polar opposite of Taylor Paul’s fear is almost upon us.

  • Ryan

    Best air in a comp ever. That’s good enough for a 10 in my book

  • dirt

    You stupid people. ya happy to see Kelly(always overscored) Slater get a 10 for one move yet can’t handle mick getting a 9.7 for 3 flawless turns. BTW Kellys last 8 where he pulled the carve 360 was CRAP, Bede does carve 360’s all the time and they never score em.

    Kelly was gifted his title last year. Owen easy beat him at chopes and Trestles.

  • mark

    dirt your high on glue kelly blew owen last year out right and he got so robbed in that final mick can only dream of doing those airs kelly did and he did those in the final to boot mick lost for sure and kelly got robbed but hey like the said, in asutralia the event held by his sponsor protecting mr’s record, but all that doesn’t matter when mick fanning and joel parkinson knows who really won like the other person said go win number twelve and put this generation too sleep, again.the duke, kelly slater , eddie aikau the greastest surfers evah

  • Matt OBrien

    earl: why single me out? i am Not only person who saw kelly outsurf mick in bells final. funny that you revert to slander and name calling. clearly actions of a person who knows they are wrong but cant admit. good luck to you…

  • yeah guy

    @everyone who thinks Slater won – Mick won straight up… Slater knew it, you could tell that Slater knew it by the way he surfed that final heat; on the ropes the entire time and scrambling. When does Slater ever Scramble? Mick played it cool and stuck it to the champ. As Slater was paddling up and down the point taking off on closeouts, Mick waited it out with 3 great waves from the bowl vs. Kelly’s billion crap waves (minus the 10, which was well earned, but useless at the same time being that he couldn’t back it up).

  • jose

    Mick got a 9.7 on a wave where he fell. That’s a joke. Slater’s air was full rotation no grab. Shit you see in videos not in comps. I usually respect people’s opinions but whoever thinks Mick won doesn’t know shit about modern surfing. Judges f##ked up again.

  • Norcal

    Yeah, guy….it’s called staying busy. Kelly does it every heat. Catches smaller waves and completely outsurfs his opponents. Did it again. Sorry to see it go this way. Mick’s a class act, but only did two different turns the whole heat to Kelly’s 7 or 8. Variety is the name of the game…

  • Mike Anderson

    Early in the season lets see….

  • Mike Anderson

    Ps Sick waves some where or everywhere in Indo the last few days great crew fun times……

  • dirt

    @ Mark, Owen killed kelly at chopes and trestles last year and the year before. Owen has completely dominated Kelly and Kelly knows it. All Kellys wins over Owen have been controversial.

  • Ben

    Guess Dirt’s identity: Ian Cairns, methinks?

  • Ben

    BTW, you’re out of your fvckin mind if you think that Owen has ever dominated Slater. Great surfer, Owen, but looking at the difference between the champ and him, and I may as well start to call him Owned Wright!

  • yeah guy

    @Norcal – That wasn’t the usually ‘Kelly staying busy’, that cool mellow under the pressure staying busy wasn’t there this time. I agree that he did catch smaller waves, but he did not out surf Mick. I also agree that variety is the name of the game… the difference? Mick did a handful of a variety of different turns on a couple waves, Kelly did 7 or 8 turns but did one turn on 7 or 8 waves. Kelly is starting to suffer from Kerrzy Disease, ex. Kerrzy’s waves that produce 6s or 7s, if any other surfer surfed the same wave the same way, would render 8s and 9s. Kelly’s problem, usually too much of a good thing… however, Mick got the best of the King this time.

  • WOW

    The ASP needs Rip Curl – Rip Curl does need the ASP. This all Equlas that Mick was given extra points for his semi lack luster performance, In comparison to SLATER.

  • WOW

    Oh also Surfing, Surfer and TWS also need Rip Curl, they help pay the bills, which in return give jobs to idiots like Jimbo Hurricane Hunter and all the rest of the Surf Guru kooks.

  • Ben

    Dirt: If not Kanga, Neil Ridgeway?

  • DL

    Kelly may have been robbed in the final, but he definitely had some help getting there as well. Semifinal vs jeremy flores should have not been a priority interference call as there was no way slater was making that section. without that, flores would have had it

  • Luke Davis

    I wish i was as good as these guys..
    I practice and practice and i just quite can’t get my rotation in.

    Imagine all the girls i could be getting by now…

  • dirt

    @ Ben. Kelly is a pizza thrower,and he’s bald.

  • JakeFOOS

    Matt O’Brien, a gray haired 45+ surfer who thinks he knows whats relevant. I dislike your comments on every surf site. You sound like you read every surf mag and lick all the pros crack. How is your “old guys rule” sticker doing on your honda element?

  • earl

    Matt O’Brien… can’t even surf, but posts good comments.

    Matt O: A pathetic troll: kind of like the douche you see in the parking lot that is talking for 40 minutes, but doesn’t even paddle out. How’s the coffee talk kook?
    Do you remember that road trip in 89?
    You’re so killer…

    Matt, can’t wait to see more of your contributions.. keyboard warrior office kook.

  • Ben

    Dirt, disclose your financial interest! It is the only plausible explanation for your lack of objectivity.

  • Matt O’Brien

    Earl, I think you have me confused with somebody else. in 89 i was like 15 years old. I have no clue who you are or why you seem to know me and my “habits”. Funny though, I do like my coffee – probably why I even bother to share on this board (or others) or even bother to comment on your misguided crap. bye the way earl (never met an Earl in my life) real tough guy hiding behind a fake name. Kook right back at you!

  • Matt O’Brien

    JakeFOSS: fu- you buddy. I got my grey hair BUT I am only 37 douce! and my “old guys rules” sticker is actually a beer cozy for my geriatric juice. F.U.!
    p.s. glad I can give you something to read from time to time…

  • Peter

    The fans know, Mick knows, Kelly knows who really won.

    The only ones who don’t are ASP judges and micks fan club.

  • WestO

    Silly squabbling! Mick won! But the judging was an embarrassment for the sport. Reminds me of WWE wrestling where the result was predetermined. Im an Auzzie yes, but I can say that Kelly was underscored, nt saying he should of won but both those 8.07s were a slap! Hes going to get tired of the uphill battle and leave the ASP with a giant financial VOID! Treat the man right no matter a yank or a Brazi!

  • Brandon

    you guys are all kooks. both poster boys for surfing sucks what a boring sport surfing has become same shit different day.

  • Rayssa

    dirt your high on glue kelly blew owen last year out right and he got so rbebod in that final mick can only dream of doing those airs kelly did and he did those in the final to boot mick lost for sure and kelly got rbebod but hey like the said, in asutralia the event held by his sponsor protecting mr’s record, but all that doesn’t matter when mick fanning and joel parkinson knows who really won like the other person said go win number twelve and put this generation too sleep, again.the duke, kelly slater , eddie aikau the greastest surfers evah

  • steven

    I thought it wasn’t fair and so I made a website to really get people’s opinions http://www.whowonbells2012.com/ 96% of the people think Kelly should have won, that’s a bit of a worry for the judges..

  • barlowc

    Just watched this final for the first time today (hey fellas – I’m barlow from SoCal) I really like all your posts. I just can’t help to say that Kelly would already have his WT #12 if it weren’t for the poor judging in this final. Someone must have slipped a Mickey into their morning coffee. Blessings BC