With 3 contest wins at Trestles, Hossegor and Peniche, under his belt, this year could have looked as if Fanning was an easy bet. Yet, his compatriot and lifelong friend Joel Parkinson also had 3 contest wins and was leading the ratings for the majority of the year. So what swung it in Fanning's favour? Luck, determination, pressure or the lack thereof? Or was it just shear talent and training that saw Fanning rise above his peers?
Fanning is renowned for his passion for training and partying, and this year was little different. With the threat of his friend Parkinson taking the title, or the ever eager Slater fresh from his 08 win, Fanning had to capitalize on whatever came his way.
The ASP dream tour is currently composed of 10 events held at the best surf breaks around the world. Yet to become world champion you must have the best combined 8 results out of the 10 competitions. So if you have great results for 8 events but bad results in another 2, those 2, as the lowest results, would not count. Fanning was able to drop a 17th place finish at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, and a 9th from his interchangeable 9ths at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Billabong Pro Mundaka and Billabong Pipeline Masters, making him near unstoppable towards the end.
Fanning clinched the deal miles ahead of the crowd with a final ratings tally of 7,140. Whereas his mate Parko totaled up 6,772 (coming in runner up), and Kelly Slater 6,136 (finishing in 6th place). However, despite the apparent massive gap that ensured Fanning's win, things really did come down to the wire. Fanning's victory wasn't to be decided until the final event of the year: The Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii.
As the last dream tour event of the year kicked off, Fanning was leading the ratings board. Parkinson had a shot at the title, but in order for him to be crowned world champion, he would have had to have finished 3rd or higher in the Pipeline Masters. Whereas, all Fanning needed was for Joel to fall short of a 3rd place finish and he would clinch the title for a second time.
In true nail biting fashion, it was the Hawaiian wild card entry Gavin Gillette that knocked Parkinson out of the competition at round 3. Fanning had already made it through to round 4, so it was cemented that Fanning was 2009's world champion.
The final touch to Fanning's journey was that coincidentally both Fanning and Parkinson were in the water at the time of the Parkinson's defeat and Fanning's win. It was with much sportsmanship that Parkinson and Fanning paddled over to each other to hug, congratulate and console, before Parkinson helped carry Fanning up the beach to be crowned world champion once again.
Here's a nice little snapshot of what it took for Fanning to create his “Micktory”