Fanning out of world championship
LOCAL hero Mick Fanning was eliminated but another Coolangatta surfer Joel Parkinson and the event’s defending champion, Taj Burrow, surged into the fourth round of the world championship yesterday.
Twice world champion Fanning failed to catch a wave in the final 10 minutes of his round three heat and was eliminated by less than a point by Hawaiian Dusty Payne.
Ten-time champion Kelly Slater also progressed, beating teenage Australian wildcard Matt Banting for a second time.
He also beat the 16-year-old from Port Macquarie in the first round.
A furious Fanning, who has twice won the Quiksilver Pro, punched the water in frustration as the final seconds of the heat ticked down.
‘‘ The waves just shut down for Mick and I knew if he had any opportunity he would have got the score,’’ said Payne who won 11.77 points to 11.00.
Banting, who eliminated world No. 5 Bede Durbidge in round two, was elated with his performance, e v e n t hough he was c o mprehensively beaten by Slater.
‘‘ I’ve learned a lot from this event and taken a lot of stuff out of it and it was great to have two heats against Kelly Slater before he thinks about retiring,’’ he said.
Slater was so comfortable in the water he changed boards half way t h r o u g h t h e h e a t a n d , a f t e r uncharacteristically falling in a barrel, body surfed through the tube, dragging his surfboard behind him on the legrope.
‘‘ The wave was perfect and I got a barrel body surf for about five seconds – it would have been such a good wave had I not fallen . . . but just to ride the waves is fun.’’
South African Jordy Smith turned in the highest score, a two-wave total of 17.17 out of 20, to beat American Corey Lopez.
Earlier, teenage Australian rookie Tyler Wright charged into the quarter-finals of the women’s event.
Wright, who upset world champion Stephanie Gilmore in round one, turned in another powerful performance to eliminate Pauline Ado from France ( 16.67 to 11.50) and next faces Brazil’s Silvana Lima in the quarters.
The 16-year-old f rom Lennox Head, NSW, said she was concentrating on having fun at the Roxy Pro, and it seems to be working for her.
‘‘ The only bad thing that can happen out there is that I lose, I’m only 16 and it’s pretty much all fun for me,’’ Wright said.