Fanning firms for title
TWEED Heads' Mick Fanning could clinch Australia's first men's surfing world title since 1999 in Spain this week after claiming victory at the Quiksilver Pro in France at the weekend. World ranked No.1 Fanning beat South African Greg Emslie in the final in Seignosse, and will capture the overall title with a win in Munduka should other results go his way there. Fanning would need reigning world champion, American Kelly Slater and Australian compatriot Taj Burrow to bomb out before the semi-finals in Spain to secure the crown. "There's no pressure at all in Munduka for the title," Fanning said. "I'm just so stoked to have another win under my belt. "I'm just doing what I've been doing, taking it heat by heat. You can't win in the final if you don't win the first round, so yeah, you've just got to take it heat by heat." Fanning dominated yesterday's final at the Les Bourdaines break, easily accounting for Emslie in the one metre waves. While he only caught four waves to Emslie's 12, Fanning garnered his winning heat total of 18.43 (out of a possible 20 points) with his first two rides the second of which he scored a near perfect 9.93 (out of 10). "I'm pumped. After the semis I really realized that you had to have the best waves to win, so that's what I did. I just sat and waited for the whole time," he said. "That wave just sat up really, really nicely and I was able to get some good turns off. "I'm just stoked, that's about all I can say." Fanning will now turn his attention to the Munduka event where a good result will boost his chances of becoming the first Australian since Mark Occhiluppo in 1999 to be crowned world champion, a foregone conclusion according to Emslie. "Mick is ripping and I reckon he's going to be world champ this year for sure," Emslie said. Emslie's final appearance was the best result of his eight-year elite-tour career and the first ASP World Tour final a South African had made in 20 years. He'd beaten current world No.4 and defending Quiksilver Pro champion Joel Parkinson in the semi-finals. Fanning beat Troy Brooks in the semi-finals after the Gold Coaster led with six minutes to go. The Munduka event, the eighth of 10 events on this year's tour, begins tomorrow.