Australian surfer Mick Fanning has taken out heat one of the J-Bay Open in South Africa.
Fanning returned to the South African waters after he was involved in a near-death shark attack in last year’s event. The three-time world champion impressed on-lookers with scores of 6.17 and 7.50, one of which came from his first wave. Fanning led the heat from the beginning and made few mistakes.
Fanning was able to put together a combined score of 13.67 to take the first round ahead of rivals, Alejo Muniz and Conner Coffin and progress to round three.
Despite the win, Fanning was carrying a niggling ankle injury that he sustained in a warm up during the week. He commended the medical staff for his speedy recovery.
“It’s been a big week actually, I had to sit out on the sidelines and watch the amazing waves go through which was just like torture,” he said.
“But the medical staff worked so well on me and I got it taped up and once I was out in the heat, I didn’t feel anything.”
Despite Fanning’s efforts, Julian Wilson was the man who ruled round one. Wilson was able to notch the highest score of the heat with 18.77 points. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Mick Fanning riding a wave in heat one from the World Surf League Facebook page.