In dominant fashion Dragon team rider Mick Fanning has won the ASP World Tour’s J-Bay Open. Held in pumping 10-foot conditions at South Africa’s famed right-hand point break, Jeffreys Bay, Fanning powered through a full day of epic surf to hang on for the win in the final against longtime friend and fellow Australian Joel Parkinson.
“It was such an incredible day of waves and I’m so glad I got to surf it,” said an exhausted Fanning after the victory. “It’s been such a magical day and I’m so thankful that we’re back here at J-Bay.”
Surfing four heats throughout the day, Fanning conceded that even his grueling training regiment wasn’t enough to prepare him for such a marathon campaign. And while he somehow forced his body to dig deep and keep up as best it could, Fanning found himself powered and inspired by what were easily the best waves seen on the ASP World Tour all year.
“This is a dream for us,” continued Fanning. “To have a contest here is amazing. It’s a full bucket list place. And to surf it with one other guy out, it’s incredible.
Going into the contest in South Africa, Fanning, the defending world champ, had slid to number eight on the ASP World Tour rankings, but with the win at J-Bay he climbs to number three and now has to be considered a potential contender for the world title.
“I didn’t think about it all day, I was just surfing, but I guess I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and start thinking about it,” smiled Fanning.
But Fanning wasn’t the only Dragon team member to shine in the glorious South African conditions. After spending the last year battling back from a back injury, Owen Wright locked in a third place finish. The result not only gave him some momentum to build off of as he heads into the back half of the season, but it also shot him up the ratings, where he now sits eleventh in the world.
“It all came together,” said Wright. “It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve been feeling better and better with every event, so to have it all came together at J-Bay, it’s really rewarding.”
Another Dragon surfer that’s struggled with injury this year, Alejo Muniz came on strong in the hefty pointbreak conditions, finishing fifth.
“That wave is so perfect, it’s so rippable, I feel very fortunate to have had such success there,” said Muniz. “It’s been off the schedule ever since I got on tour, so it’s really great to come here and get to enjoy such incredible conditions.”
The next ASP World Tour stop is the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, held at the infamous left-hand reef in Tahiti from Aug. 15-26.