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Fanning crowned world champion


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POSTED: Sunday, December 13, 2009

After losing his heat at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, 2009 Association of Surfing Professional World Champ Mick Fanning couldn't stay still.

The 28-year-old Australian was ecstatic, having won his second world title yesterday at the third jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

“;It's been such a crazy year and I had so much fun,”; said Fanning, who made a late-season charge by winning three out of the last four contests on the World Championship Tour. “;I'm just shaking and at a loss for words.”;

Going into the Billabong Pipeline Masters—the final event of the WCT season—Fanning's title hopes were being challenged by childhood friend Joel Parkinson.

Parkinson, 28, had an opportunity to shatter Fanning's title campaign in the 12- to 16-foot wave faces yesterday. But Kauai's Gavin Gillette, 23, eliminated Parkinson in the third round. Parkinson had a chance to win the man-on-man heat in the last few seconds, but went over the falls on a double-overhead Pipeline bomb. According to Gillette, his third-round heat was returning a favor to Fanning from years ago in Australia.

“;When I was a grom Mick let me stay at his house and it was one of the best weeks of my life,”; said Gillette, who was eliminated in the fourth round. “;So I guess maybe I'm paying him back somehow.”;

When Parkinson was eliminated, Fanning was in the water waiting for the start of his third-round heat with their other best friend, Dean Morrison. After the heat all three friends met in the water and shared Fanning's special moment.

“;I just paddled over and just said, 'hard luck,'”; Fanning said of his and Parkinson's interaction. “;If I wasn't in the race, I would have been rooting for Joel (Parkinson), for sure.”;

While this world title is the second for Fanning, the beach-blond Aussie admits the 2009 ASP World Championship was a lot more enjoyable.

“;This one was way more fun,”; said Fanning of his latest world title. “;I was a lot more relaxed for this one.”;

Fanning lost in the third round of the Billabong Pipeline Masters and was eliminated by Morrison. The 2009 world champ conceded he was disinterested in competing after learning he won the world title.

“;I wasn't even in that heat,”; said Fanning. “;I was just standing there and having fun. I wasn't trying to get scores or anything.”;

With his win Fanning was awarded an extra $50,000 by Vans as a part of the Triple Threat bonus. Vans is also giving $50,000 to the Billabong Pipeline Masters winner and another $50,000 to the men's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion.

“;It's awesome to see companies believing in surfing and just huge thanks to Vans,”; Fanning said after the contest, still shaking from the win. “;It's just a picture of what's going to happen in years to come.”;

When the competition at the Billabong Pipeline Masters resumes, the quarterfinals will take to the water with Florida's C.J. Hobgood battling for his first Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. Hobgood needs a second-place finish or better at Pipe to overtake Parkinson, who is the defending Triple Crown champ.