Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Mick's Swansong from Bells; Mick Exits Pro Surfing at Bells

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Mick's Swansong from Bells; Mick Exits Pro Surfing at Bells

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Vivian steve.vivian@tweeddailynews.com.au

IT WAS an eerie feeling watching the final five minutes of Mick Fanning's professional surfing career on Bells Beach on Thursday.

There was an overwhelming sense of fate that Fanning would produce the 7.57 wave required for victory, even when time was as big an enemy as the lack of swell. Fanning's ability to rise to the occasion is fabled: always digging deep, always finding a way.

It seemed as though the whole crescendo had been building throughout the tournament.

Fanning was progressively surfing better in each heat, he pulled out the first big wave of the final, and, to script, he found himself stalking one last wave with a chance for victory in front of one of the biggest crowds ever assembled at his spiritual surfing home, Bells Beach.

Fanning's journey started in 2001, where we won his first championship title at Bells. Since that defining day, he has won three more at the iconic Victorian tournament. It was where he always felt most comfortable.

"I feel like the cliffs, the history from the traditional elders, running down those stairs each and every time, it brings back so many memories... I just feel calm," Fanning said.

And so it was with a calm resignation that Fanning embraced his opponent, Italo Ferreira, who had just done to Fanning what he had done to so many others, passing the torch to the young Brazilian.

With the crowd cheering so profoundly for one of their heroes, you could tell Fanning was proud that Ferreira had maintained his will and composure in such a surreal context.

There was so much spoken of the "fairytale finish", but Fanning could barely have done more to leave crowds with cherished memories, of witnessing a fighter - their champ - throw his last punches and damn near defy the odds and win the thing himself one last time. …

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