For the first time in 2 years, reigning world champion and current world no.3 Mick Fanning will finish a WCT event with the dreaded T-33 next to his name. Fanning was upset by Brazilian wildcard surfer Bruno Santos 10.00 to 9.17 in round 2 of a Billabong Pro that is really starting to liven up. “Things could be better,” Fanning said. “Every wave was a battle for fours and fives out there. They weren’t opening up and then I was either too wide or too deep – I couldn’t find the happy medium, but it happens. The waves were good, I wasn’t good.”
Fanning won’t be the only big name making a sooner than expected exit from Teahupoo. Jamie O’Brien had the unexpected misfortune of meeting Kelly Slater in rd. 2 following Slater’s round 1 loss to ‘Chopes-specialist Manoa Drollet. Kelly came out firing in their heat and O’Brien quickly found himself in an a combination hole that would lead him to sharing the same fate as Fanning following an 18.70 to 13.90 loss.
Kelly has now moved into rd. 3 where he will face the man responsible for putting him up against O’Brien in the first place, Manoa Drollet. “It’s excellent to beat Kelly,” Drollet said. “I feel bad, he was a bit pissed, but it’s a contest. I was lucky to get the best two waves of the heat, Kelly got one in the end and he almost came back. In this competition, the guy who gets the good waves is going to win the heat, and that was me today.” Drollet kept Slater out of position for most of their rd. 1 heat, forcing Kelly to take off deeper than he wanted do which resulted in the 8x world-champ getting pitched a time or two. Their rd. 3 match-up will surely see both surfers coming out ready for battle.