TEAHUPO'O, Tahiti - World surfing championship leader Mick Fanning staged a remarkable come-from-behind performance to defeat fellow Australian Joel Parkinson in the final of the Billabong Pro in Tahiti.
It was Fanning's first title at the Teahup'o break and extended his advantage over Parkinson and Kelly Slater at the top of the world title race at the halfway point of the 10-event season.
Fanning needed a final wave score of 9.1 or better with less than four minutes left on the clock to clinch the win from Parkinson, who had rushed out to an early lead with a combined wave score of 18.37.
Two-time world champion Fanning used all his experience to convince Parkinson to use his priority on a wave which he failed to score on.
And then Fanning capitalised on the next wave, riding out a near-perfect 9.5 to take the lead and ultimately the Tahiti crown.
It's the second time Fanning has pulled out a clutch performance in a final this year.
The 31-year-old held his nerve to overcome a perfect 10 from Slater at Bells Beach back in April to clinch one of surfing's greatest-ever heats.
Teahupo'o was a crucial piece of silverware missing from Fanning's glittering career. The Pipeline Masters in Hawaii is now the only major event title that eludes him.
Parkinson will move to outright second in the world rankings, leapfrogging 11-time world champion Slater who drops to third after making an uncharacteristic early-round exit in Tahiti.
Fanning said he surfed like he had nothing to lose as the final entered its final stretch against great mate and fellow Queenslander Parkinson.
"It's a 35 minute heat, I knew I had time. I just kept my patience. It's the final, you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," Fanning said.
"You've got to sit there and it can turn on and off so quick here and you can get two scores pretty quick ... I didn't have priority that first one I made Joel go ... and then the last one I was so stoked to come out.
"I had to do a lot of hard work and to hold on I'm just super stoked."
Parkinson, who was also chasing a maiden Tahiti crown, was a shattered man after also finishing second in Brazil this year.
He said one poor decision cost him the title.
"I led a 35 minute heat until four minutes to go, just one bad wave choice," Parkinson said.
"You can't really dispute that, he was one of the best surfers for the whole event but it hurts for sure."