Mick Fanning’s world title hopes have taken a hit after being eliminated in round three of the Billabong Pro in Tahiti by lowly-ranked Spaniard Aritz Aranburu.
In his first event since he was attacked by a shark at Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa, the Australian couldn’t get going in four-foot surf at the iconic Tahitian reef break of Teahupo’o on Tuesday.
It was a convincing win for 39th-ranked Aranburu, who shot out to an early advantage with wave scores of 7.00 and 8.17 to easily account for Fanning’s best of 5.17 and 1.50.
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Fanning had the chance to surge to the top of the championship with a win, after rankings lead , Brazilian Adriano De Souza, was eliminated just the heat before.
Currumbin surfer Bede Durbidge also suffered a third round defeat this morning.
Fellow locals Josh Kerr and Joel Parkinson will be up in their round three heats later today if the event continues.