Fanning rides fairytale all the way to Bells final
TRIPLE world champion Mick Fanning is just a single victory away from a dream finish to his stellar surfing career.
Fanning beat American Pat Gudauskas in the Australian's 56th world tour semi-final on Thursday.
The win secured Fanning a place in his seventh final at Bells.
Fanning threw up 8.5 and 8.00 rides to claim the win over the dangerous Gudauskas and a spot in the decider.
The event is where Fanning scored his first world tour win as a 19-year-old wildcard 17 years ago.
Fanning, who has attracted major crowds to Bells to witness his retirement from the world tour, could finish his extraordinary career with the world No.1 ranking.
"Well, the boys have been saying if you can't ring it, send it," Fanning said ahead of the final.
"It is so good out there, the wave is doing all the work."
Earlier Fanning had beaten good mate Owen Wright 13.77 to 9.33 to book his spot in the semi against the American.
Wright had an unusual lead-up to his semi-final heat, sleeping in his car overnight as he has a sick toddler at home.
Wright returned to the world tour last year after suffering a brain injury in a wipe-out at Pipeline.
"Yeah, it's unfortunate that we matched up in the quarter-finals," Wright said.
"Mick has been such a good friend to me for so long.
"We've ridden on the Rip Curl team together for the majority of our careers and he's been there for me through a lot, especially in the last few years."