Mick Fanning of Penrith is close to securing his fourth World Surfing title after beating Kelly Slater in the quarter final and eliminating the defending champ, Gabriel Medina of Brazil.
He was back chasing waves a day after learning that his older brother Peter had died.
Fanning outscored Slater, the 11-time champ, by a score of 9.50 to 6.17 with under two minutes to go in the round. He next faces Medina in the semis, although any chance of Medina retaining his title hinged on Fanning losing in the quarters.
The only surfer standing in Fanning’s way of a fourth world title at the Billabong Pipe Masters championship of the World Surf League in Honolulu is Brazil’s Adriano de Souza, who got into the mix by beating Australian Josh Kerr in a hotly contested quarterfinal.
De Souza is scheduled to go against Mason Ho of Hawaii in the other semifinal. He qualified by beating Ireland’s Glenn Hall by a convincing margin. The winner of the Ho-De Souza matchup will have the chance to take on Fanning for the top position.
Fanning is currently ranked world number one and has been making the most of eight to 10 foot waves at Ehukai Beach.