No waves proves to be spoiler for Mick Fanning
LADY luck has a lot to do with surfing results when the waves are inconsistent and unfortunately for Mick Fanning the luck didn't go his way ay at SuperTubos, Portugal.
As a former World Tour competitor and close friend to Fanning, Taylor Knox summed it up in the commentary box, saying "When you don't get the waves, you can't surf to your potential".
In the second last event of the 2013 ASP World Tour, Fanning needed to reach the semi-finals to claim his third world title after Kelly Slater was bundled out early in round two.
Mick's other contenders Taj Burrow, Jordy Smith and Joel Parkinson needed to win Portugal to keep their world title hopes alive in Hawaii, but those scenarios didn't play out.
Burrow lost a very close round 5 heat with Josh Kerr, ending the West Australians run, while Jordy fell in the quarters and Joel in the semis.
I helped Mick win his world title in 2009 when I beat Kelly Slater for him, now it's my turn, he owes me and I'm going to whoop him - Kai Otton
Fanning had won his round four heat against Hawaii's John John Florence to advance into the quarter finals, leaving the others to battle it out in round five non-elimination round.
However the danger man Kai Otton served Mick an ominous warning after winning his round 5 heat to meet Fanning in the quarters.
When asked how he felt about surfing against Mick and denying Fanning a world title in Portugal, the 33 year old journeyman said, "I helped Mick win his world title in 2009 when I beat Kelly Slater for him, now it's my turn, he owes me and I'm going to whoop him."
Tidal fluctuations and an inconsistent multiple beachbreak surf didn't do Mick any favours and Otton didn't hold back on his promise, keeping the momentum going through to the semi's. Otton ended Joel Parkinson's shot at a World Title in Hawaii before beating Rookie of the Year Nat Young of Santa Cruz in frustrating conditions in the final to claim his maiden ASP victory.
And what a huge win for Otto from Tathra, the giant killer sending the world title to Hawaii for a showdown between Fanning and Slater at the Banzai Pipeline in December.
"One of the things that has changed for me this year is my girlfriend being pregnant, I'm pretty excited about that," Otton continued.
"It's unbelievable, it's the next chapter I'm really looking forward to. It's amazing to have all of the support, all my home town of Tathra, my Mom and Dad who supported me all of my career. To get here is kind of a pinnacle for me."
Despite bowing out in the quarter finals, Mick Fanning 32, has further solidified his lead on the world title race, collecting a fifth place at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
"It's a bit frustrating, obviously I just wanted to surf and unfortunately it didn't really happen," Fanning said.
"I'm stoked that I made some points here, it puts me in a better position going into Pipe and I'm excited to go to Hawaii. I'll do the whole Triple Crown so this could be fun.
"I've had a lot of slow heats this year, snuck through a few, but you know every now and then one's going to go your way. It probably made it a little bit more significant with what was on the line at that time."
Entering the final stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour, Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater (USA), 41, remain in contention for the ASP World Title.
Following Fanning's fifth place at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Slater must win the Pipe Masters to surpass Fanning for the ASP World Title.
If Slater is to win the event, Fanning must place third or better to claim the title for himself.
Now that's a showdown similar to last year's Parkinson versus Slater and Kelly gets another chance to reel in world title number 12 in two months' time.
- Mick Fanning 53100
- Kelly Slater 45900
- Joel Parkinson 43700
- Jordy Smith 43150
- Taj Burrow 42900