MICK Fanning's back in the title mix after triumphing over Kelly Slater in huge surf at the Quiksilver Pro France. Last year the final was waist high chop-hopping whereas this year it was life-threatening glassy bombs just this side of surfable.
The returning king of France robustly refused to abdicate, making it two in row here with Kelly Slater left out in the cold unable to make it into a real contest. Kelly has yet to win this event but despite falling at the last he's increased his lead at the top of the table and is going to take some catching.
"That was difficult," Fanning said. "Kelly and I were talking out there about how we were trying to get in the spot. There was just a lot of water moving and it was super challenging. I got absolutely hammered by a set - copped the whole thing on the head and it killed me. You were either in the spot or you weren't, and I was fortunate enough to be there for a couple."
He's now in third place just behind Jordy but with the advantages of form and experience.
"I've still got a lot of work to do and the other guys have a couple of finals on me. It's a start. I'm going to go to Portugal and have a lot of fun."