Mick Fanning has been eliminated from the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii leaving just fellow Australian Joel Parkinson and 11-time world champ Kelly Slater in the running for the title.
Fanning suffered not only a loss, but also a severe gash on his left foot, in his third round matchup with American vet Shane Dorian, but Fanning says he’ll stick around in Hawaii because he wants to be there for his friend, and fellow countryman, Parkinson as he fights Slater for the world title.
Fanning beat Parkinson for the title in 2009, but it was his friend and fellow countryman that waiting by the shore and lifted him on his shoulders through the 10,000 strong crowd. Fanning now wants to return the favour.
Parkinson smashed his round 3 heat with scores of 6.67 and 6.93 against local rival Kalani Chapman before clinching his victory with two scores of 7.17 and 9.00.
Slater defeated another Hawaiian, youngster Billy Kemper, with an equally good performance, however Parkinson has completed his round 4 heat while Slater has not.
The two produced the highest heat scores of the day, Slater 18.63 from a possible 20 and Parkinson 18.1 against CJ Hobgood and Kieren Perrow in round four.
The mental side of the championship race may be getting to Parkinson.
"(It has been) A bit of nervous frustration. There's obviously a bit at stake. All you can do is go out and find the best waves you can, ride them the best you can," he said.
"Both heats, I tried to get a couple of early ones and then wait. I got folded on a crazy left and then found that perfect drainer on the right. The last heat was incredible. It was pumping, just about perfect Pipe."
Hawaii could be the end for one of surfing’s greats; there’s lots of speculation going around that Slater will retire from the professional tour after the season concludes at Pipeline in the next few days.
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