A year after escaping a shark attack in the final of the J-Bay Open, Mick Fanning has overcome his fears to claim victory.
“There was a real emotional build up coming back here this year,” the Gold Coast surfer admitted after his win over Hawaii’s John John Florence.
It’s the fourth time Fanning has claimed victory at the South African break, but admits this one is sweeter than them all.
“I’m stoked that I got to come back and right the wrongs that happened last year. I’ve done that now so I can move on,” the three-time WSL champion said.
Fanning, who is currently taking a ‘personal year’ and only surfing in select events moves from 16th to 5th place on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard.
“It’s awesome to be in 5th place but I don’t really care about results this year.
“I just want to thank everyone who has supported me over the past year. For me this year feels a lot lighter not going for a world title so I’m really enjoying my surfing and having a lot of fun.
Florence moves up to second place for the first time in his career to close the gap on ratings leader Matt Wilkinson.