Fanning fires with French victory

“IT'S back on!”

That's how Tweed Heads' Mick Fanning described the race for the 2009 ASP World Title after he claimed the Quiksilver Pro France yesterday.

Fanning, the man they call 'White Lightning' downed fellow Gold Coaster Bede Durbidge in punchy 0.5 - 1 metre waves at Les Bourdaines.

The French event was the seventh on the 10 event tour and Fanning's second win of the tour has closed the gap on current ASP tour leader, Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson to just 146 points.

“Everyone thought Joel (Parkinson) was going to run away with it and it's unfortunate for him that he fell out early, but I've put in a lot of work to get these last two wins and I'm just psyched on heading into the rest of the season,” Fanning said.

Parkinson was eliminated in round three of the event.

Despite the small waves, organisers opted to utilise the swell to complete the event given the dismal surf forecast for the remainder of the waiting period.

Fanning continued to build momentum through the final day of competition before erupting in the final with a flurry of excellent scoring rides, a 7.83, an 8.83 and a 7.33 in the opening half of the competition.

“I was really fortunate to get those couple of good ones at the start because I really ran out of gas there at the end,” Fanning said.

“It's two back-to-back events where I have had to surf four heats on the final day to get the win, and it takes a lot out of you. The conditions were deteriorating and I was fortunate to get those scores on the board early on.”

Durbidge was in excellent form throughout the final day of competition, eliminating a rampaging American Dane Reynolds, compatriot Ben Dunn and lethal French local Patrick Beven en route to the final.

Although surfing well, the big Australian couldn't overcome Fanning's speed in the trying conditions.

Durbidge's runner-up finish rockets him from seventh to fourth on the 2009 ASP World Tour ratings, placing him in solid position heading into the remainder of the year.

Portugal's Tiago Pires, ASP Dream Tour sophomore, halted what many considered to be the juggernaut of the event when he eliminated nine-time and reigning ASP world champion, American Kelly Slater in the quarterfinals.

The hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title has become even more interesting with the early elimination of frontrunner Parkinson and the win from Fanning.

They'll battle other top seeds C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, Durbidge and Slater as the ASP Dream Tour continues the European leg.

Next stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour will be the Billabong Pro Mundaka from October 5 - 17.

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CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10 (After Quiksilver Pro France): 1 - Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5896 points 2 - Mick Fanning (AUS) 5750 points 3 - C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4872 points 4 - Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4792 points 5 - Kelly Slater (USA) 4638 points 6 - Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4573 points 7 - Taj Burrow (AUS) 4417 points 8 - Damien Hobgood (USA) 4384 points 9 - Bobby Martinez (USA) 4314 points 10 - Taylor Knox (USA) 4216 points

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