COOLANGATTA, Australia (Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007) - The second to last stop on the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour, the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro, will decide this year's ASP World Champion should current ratings leader Mick Fanning (AUS) take it all the way in Brazil's beach breaks next week.
With a win at the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro, which will run in Imbituba, Brazil between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 2007, Fanning will claim his maiden ASP World Title and head into the Hawaiian leg of competition the 2007 Foster's ASP World Champion.
Only World No. 3 Taj Burrow (AUS) and reigning and 8X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) can challenge Fanning for the title should he not win in Brazil. Both will be in much better contention if Fanning bows out early with Burrow finishing 9th or better and Slater earning at least a 3rd. Burrow will remain in contention finishing just one place ahead of Fanning; Slater must make more ground. Both will need to win in Hawaii and hope Fanning exits early to win if they don't close the gap in Brazil.*
The Brazilian event's past champions' roster reads like a who's who of the 2007 Foster's ASP World Title race. Fanning will enter the event the defending champion having captured the Brazilian crown last year. Burrow won the event in 2004 and Slater took top honors there in 2003. Damien Hobgood (USA) who was a factor in the 2007 ASP World Title race before injuring his knee and withdrawing from Brazil and the two events prior, won the event in 2005.
Fanning, who captured the World No. 1 spot when he won the first event of the year at his home break on the Gold Coast of Australia and hasn't relinquished it since, has been supremely focused on his own surfing and no one else's all season.
"I can't speak for the others but I feel really comfortable in Brazil," Fanning said. "It has been a strong event for me over the years."
Should Fanning win the title without surrendering the ratings lead, he will become one of a handful of World Champions who have led the entire the season. The others include Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew in 1978, Tom Curren in the 1986-87 and 1990 tours, Martin Potter in 1989, Slater in 1994, 1997 and 2006 and Sunny Garcia in 2000.
Please note that in all scenarios below, both Burrow and Slater will need to win the Billabong Pipeline Masters as well, even if Mick Fanning gets a 33rd in Hawaii.
. If Mick Fanning wins in Brazil he clinches the World Title.
. If Fanning gets 2nd, Taj Burrow needs to win the event and Kelly Slater is out of the race.
. If Fanning gets 3rd, Burrow needs a 2nd and Slater is out of the race.
. If Fanning gets 5th, Burrow needs a 3rd and Slater needs a 1st.
. If Fanning gets 9th, Burrow needs a 5th and Slater needs a 2nd.
. If Fanning gets 17th, Burrow needs a 9th and Slater needs a 3rd.
. If Fanning gets 33rd, Burrow needs a 9th and Slater needs a 3rd.
Burrow and Slater will need to count on a 17th or 33rd finish from Fanning in Brazil and place as high as possible in the same event (Burrow higher than 9th and Slater higher than 3rd - to be in better title contention (not needing a win) going into Hawaii.
E.g.: If Fanning gets a 17th in Brazil and Burrow gets a 5th, then with a 2nd place in Hawaii Burrow would win the title if Fanning gets a 17th or worse at Pipe.