Four-time Rip Curl Pro champion Mick Fanning blasted his way into the round of 16 at Bells Beach with a stunning win over world No. 1 Kanoa Igarashi.
A tense affair ended with the Olympic silver medalist needing an 8.94 in his final run to win but only managing an 8.
Fanning said he was “gassed” after the epic battle.
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“I didn’t realize my fitness level wasn’t up to par,” he told reporters.
“That old boy is out of shape.”
The veteran first won the event in 2001 as a teenager, before claiming three victories in four years in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
He was offered a wild card entry into this event and is taking full advantage of it.
“As a wild card you want to come in and put on a performance,” he said.
“Coming up against the world No. 1, I had nothing to lose. I just came here to have fun.”
Fanning will face fellow Australian Callum Robson in the next round, after the latter beat Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais.
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