This event sorely needed his positive vibes, but he was never going to get past Fanning, who by this stage was starting to look like the Mick Fanning of a few years ago for whom pro surfing meant the world.
In Bells finals past, this simply would have a cue for Mick to conjure up a pair of 9s from the Southern Ocean, but in recent years it seems like Mick has used up a whole career’s worth of luck, not least of all when he was spared from the jaws of a giant South African fish.
Maybe it was the fact that Mick was surfing one last time, and the prospect of the pair of them winning Bells together that lit a fire under her.
The rest of the crew on site were already donning “Cheers Mick” shirts and hats, so many that they needed to reverse a giant truck in and restock the merch tent, that had been cunningly disguised as the only exit from the event site.
Glen Hall, after watching a series of lame heats a few days ago had made a bet that if anyone managed a heat total of 18 he’d run up and down the Bells stairs in the nude. Italo was on 17. 84 after five minutes. Hall looked nervous. It was cold. There were cameras. But he needn’t be.
As Mick sat there we jabbered on the beach commentary and I made a comment that he only had three minutes left in his pro surfing career.
Italo Ferriera and Mick Fanning embrace after their emotional final.
When the hooter sounded Italo paddled over and embraced Mick, both overcome in very different ways. It was symbolic.
Between Gabby and Italo, one of them was going to be entirely comfortable crushing Mick’s pretty little picture today.
After embracing family and friends walking up the stairs, most of who had shed a tear or two in the dying minutes, Mick walked into the surfer’s area and in his loudest voice, bellowed, “McMuuuuuuffffffiiinnnn!
Read more here: Surfer Mag