Fanning rings Bells for Tweed
TWEED Heads surfer Mick Fanning was elated after snatching victory against the cream of the world's surfers in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach final on Friday.
Sporting war-paint on his face during the presentation ceremony, Fanning proudly held aloft the spectacular Bells trophy knowing he had also claimed the biggest scalp in the business in the surf-off that mattered - 11 times world champion Kelly Slater.
And what a final.
Many veteran Bells visitors reckoned it was the best ever, bringing together two of the sport's greatest exponents.
Slater's two best rides earned him a flawless 10 and an 8.07 - normally that would be enough for the American to be paying extra baggage in carting the Bells trophy back home.
But Fanning replied with a 9.10 followed by an outstanding 9.70 to edge out his rival, much to the delight of thousands who lined the beach and headland.
The win marked Fanning's 14th elite tour win and his first Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach win since 2001.
It also brings the Australian's head-to-head record with Slater a bit closer - Slater with eight victories, now holds a slender one win lead over the Australian.
Sally Fitzgibbons claimed victory at the 2012 Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach with a hard-fought final win over Tweed Head's Stephanie Gilmore on Saturday.
Fitzgibbons was able to stave off a late charge from Gilmore and retain the title she won last year.