Loss stings Mick

QUIKSILVER Pro defending champion Mick Fanning was in no mood to talk about his shock elimination from the season-opening world championship tour (WCT) men's surfing event at Snapper Rocks yesterday.

Tour rookie Pancho Sullivan of Hawaii scored a best twowave total of 15.40 in his third round heat to storm ahead of Fanning (12.74), who was surfing his home break at Duranbah.

A bitterly disappointed Fanning, realising he couldn't overhaul Sullivan, raised his hands to the sky and punched his surfboard before returning to shore.

Fanning refused to speak to the media, signing a few autographs before storming off following his exit from the $382,000 tournament.

Sullivan, touted as a possible darkhorse on this year's tour, found the best waves in the small, peaky conditions.

He was happy to discuss his upset victory over world No.3 Fanning. "I was watching the conditions from about 5.30 this morning," said WCT newcomer Sullivan.

"When I saw I had drawn Mick Fanning and this being his home break, I was definitely a little bit nervous going into the heat and then relieved to get through it.

"Before I came (to the Gold Coast) I spent the last month in Hawaii looking for the smallest waves possible trying to elevate my surfing in that area and give myself more of a shot at going for a world title.

Another former Quiksilver Pro champion, 2003 winner Dean Morrison, and fellow Australian world No.6 Trent Munro were knocked out by American Taylor Knox and Brazil's Adriano de Souza respectively.

Sydney's Tom Whitaker beat fellow New South Welshman Danny Wills to set up a fourth round clash with world No.2 Andy Irons. -AAP

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