Mick Fanning won the 2013 ASP World Title at 9:30 AM, HST. He was in the first heat of the morning — against CJ Hobgood — and things were not going so well for him. Fanning was stumbling through an eight-wave closeout streak while CJ had been chipping away with mid-range scores. Time dwindled and Mick needed a substantial score. Then, at 9:30, Mick caught a roll in, check-turn-stalled and got blasted out of a Pipeline cavern. And the title became his, unofficially.
To officially claim his third world title, Mick had to beat Yadin Nicol in the Quarters. Yadin got a ten in the earlier rounds, and was certainly not going to waver for his countryman. He packed a 9.33 and a 7.57; Mick looked defeated. With five minutes left, whitewater exploded on the third reef. Mick had priority and was in perfect position, but he needed a 9.57. The whole beach jumped to their feet, but deja vu jumped even higher. At 11:40 AM, with time dwindling, Mick caught a roll in, check-turn-stalled and got blasted out of a Pipeline cavern. The clock ran out.
The judges took their sweet with the decision. Was it a 9.57? An 8.67? A 9.33? They watched the replay again and again, and when it finally came time to judge, they deemed the wave a 9.7. And Mick Fanning won the world title at 11:45. -Brendan Buckley
More photos and a recap from the final day of the 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters to come.