The Banzai Drop-In

posted by / News, WSL / December 13, 2013

Mick burns John JohnMick Fanning burns John John Florence.

Tomorrow, Mick Fanning will surf against CJ Hobgood in massive waves at the Billabong Pipeline Masters. If he defeats Clifton James, Mick will then surf against Yadin Nicol. And if he defeats Yadin, Mick will clinch his third ASP World Title. The bottle of champagne drips with condensation.

One of the most significant moments of Mick’s year came at the business end of his Round 4 spar with Nat Young and John John Florence. It was a no-losers heat, in which 1st place goes straight to Quarterfinals and 2nd and 3rd head to to Round 5. To state the obvious, Mick paddled out with intentions to win the heat — but John John’s 16.37 points got in the way of that. With 21 seconds left, John held priority as a decent Pipe wave approached. He hooked into it, grabbed rail and set up for his umpteenth barrel. Then Mick dropped in on him.

It was uncharacteristic for a man of such poise. Mick hasn’t been slapped with an interference all year — and he gets one on John John, at Pipe? Was it an act of desperation, hoping that John John was going right? Cute theory, but we think not.

If Mick had placed second in that heat, his title-deciding draw would have looked a whole lot different. He’d have been against Julian Wilson in Round 5 and, gasp, John John Florence in the Quarters. Mick knew exactly what he was doing when he burnt. And it was a decision that everyone can agree with. Surfing against John John at 10-foot Pipe to decide a world title? No, thank you. Still, CJ is a warhorse at Pipe and Yadin lacks the cerebral function that tells him not to go on waves that can kill him. Mick’s road ain’t easy, just easier.

The swell’s coming in hot, and tomorrow is setting up to be the best day of surfing of the year. It will be a mad mix of boldness, skill, karma and luck. Will Mick’s decision pay off? —Brendan Buckley

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  • suck my balls

    the difference between mick and say… jordy smith. one is smart, the other would never think that far into any situation. still guessing mick gets taken down by CJ, but it would be nearly a guarantee he’d get taken down by john john. nice move.

  • Peter Trenchard

    I totally 3 guys at pipe are john john for sure jamie o but sadly he is not in the pipe masters and kelly.The way the stage is set…Mick will win the title and Kelly will win the comp!!..The only interference is lady luck…may the best man win!

  • Bobby


    If Kelly wins the comp, Mick loses the title, get your numbers together bruva.

  • janusz

    no if mick makes the next two heats he wins the title. and kelly’s result wont change a thing. Its Micks to Lose. get your numbers together bruva

  • Rod


    Get your numbers straight before calling it on people. Mick makes the semis he’s world champ, regardless of what happens after that!

  • Ben

    Bummer. I’d love to watch Mick get smoked in firing Pipe by the REAL best surfer in the world. That said, Mick plays the game as well as Slater himself, and if he had Slater’s talent he’d already have a half dozen titles.

  • Andy

    C j takes Mick. Kelly puts his cape on and takes it- 10 ft pipe…slater is another level…

  • Jules

    Pray God CJ takes out Mick. Mick isn’t even close to Kelly in terms of talent (Joel neither) and it would be poetic justice for Mick manipulating who he will come up against and lying about it. I hope his ploy backfires and messes with his mental space. I just want to see the best man win, and to my mind Kelly has been the best this year, and last year too, and…..

    Poor lottery conditions in Europe these last two years have been his nemisis. Had there been quality surf, Kelly would have won last year, and would probably be leading the title race at this stage. People (and scribes) have been commentating that he had some slump in form or mindset over that period, but fail to recognise that the heats he lost in (against Raoni in Portugal last year and against some kid there again this year)where held in closeout conditions in which Raoni got the only non-closeout and the kid got the only tube. Similarly unlucky exits were made in France. Sure the dice effects everyone….but I hate it when luck trumps skill. Nuff said!

  • Mike Anderson

    I will say it again Kelly Wins and retires…

  • Furley

    Kind of sad when you take a flop to win a World Title, I guess in my eyes the world Title doesn’t mean your the best surfer in there the best surfer in the World. Pretty Sad To win That Way!

  • Mik

    Mick won’t get past either CJ, or Yadin…

    Kelly will be in the final…

    JJF Pipe Master Champ & Triple Crown King.

  • sean

    make no mistake, mick is in the run for the world title because he is one of the best surfers in the world. NOT because he is lucky

  • Furley

    Sounds Like Sean Must Work At Rip Curl…….

    And If He Is One Of The Best In The World Why Did He Flop??????

    I Have Never Ever Seen Anyone Flop To Win A World Title!!!

  • know it all

    you suck bobby

  • Pissed at webcast

    I’m currently watching the webcast, it is absolutely horrible! They keep showing the crowd, showing stats, giving interviews, commercials, and not enough surfing. Pipe is pumping and I gotta watch GT give an interview. While they are giving the interview I gotta listen to the crowd cheer on the wave instead of see it for myself. I’m ready to turn this shit off and go golfing.

  • Ben

    And now? What the fvck. A bottom turn to barrel beats an absolutely mental drop straight into the tube. Is somebody holding a gun to the judges’ heads?

  • Mike Anderson

    pass me the sambal so I can eat my words, hats off to Mic Fanning new world Champ.. In big Pipe too Impressive..

  • Will

    All of you are crazy for saying Mick took a flop to win the world title. I am a die hard Floridian. Born and raised. I am always behind Kelly in his title race. But Mick is a pure competitor. Knowing what you have to do in order to win a world title is part of being a true professional. He did what he had to do to win. Kelly has done that type of thing many times in the past not to mention Andy’s antics. Mick didn’t get below a 10th all year. He deserved it.

  • Sad

    This is why professional surfing has become a joke. Please post an article asking viewers to rate the top 10 surfers in order and let them vote. I guarantee Mick wouldn’t make the top 5. It would go something like 1. Kelly 2. John John 3. Medina 4. Julian 5. Parko

  • Ray

    Mick is smart and knew what he was doing i that heat. and that my friends is Why he is a World Champ.