Classy Fanning keeps Bells dream alive
AUSSIE legend Mick Fanning has lived to surf another heat at his farewell world tour event after a victory over American dangerman Sebastian Zietz at the 2018 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on Monday morning.
A four-time winner of the event, securing his first as a teenage wildcard in 2001, Fanning will surf at least one more time in his swansong event after 16 years on the world tour.
Fanning looked on point from his first wave of the heat against Zietz, who he beat in his first-round outing.
The Gold Coast-based surfer, who grew up in Sydney's west and has 22 world tour wins to his name, opened his heat with a 4.17.
Zietz responded with a 6.17 to win the opening exchange on a better wave.
Fanning then produced a 6.23 to Zietz's 2.93 to take back the lead and apply serious pressure to his opponent.
A 7.33 on his third wave extended Fanning's lead and he took the match-up 13.56 to 9.10 to advance into the fourth round.
"I'm just stoked I got to surf another heat with him," Fanning said of his young opponent.
Firmly focused on the task ahead, Fanning, 36, was flanked by security and a cameraman as he ran through a crowd of fans down to the water.
Meanwhile, rookie Wade Carmichael pulled off a stunning victory over South African gun Jordy Smith.
And to continue the positive Aussie trend, Owen Wright following suit soon after when he downed Jesse Mendez in his third-round outing on a chilly morning, and former Rip Curl Pro winner Matt Wilkinson then took down rookie Griffin Colapinto.
The women's event was called off for the day.