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Another shark scare for Fanning on thrilling day at J-Bay

Fanning and Medina pulled out at J-Bay due to sharks

Shark halts Fanning and Medina at J-Bay Open 2017
THERE was yet more drama at the 2017 J-Bay Open on Wednesday when the afternoon sessions were put on hold due to shark sightings.

In the water at the time was Mick Fanning, who famously fought off a great white at this very event in 2015.

The Australian was among those who voted to get back in the water and finish off the quarter-final heats.

“I’m really glad they got us out of the water but I felt really safe out there with the skis, the drones and the plane so it was an easy decision to paddle out,” said Fanning.

The three-time World Surf League champion could not hold off Gabriel Medina, who sealed a comfortable win to book a spot in the semi finals.

“We had a slow start to the heat and I made a few mistakes but Gabe is just surfing so well at the moment so it was a tough heat,” said Fanning.

“It’s been such an incredible contest though.

“I think we’ve seen some of the best surfing to see how many 10-point rides have gone down.

“What else could happen here?”

The big surprise of the day was Frederico Morais, who produced some stellar surfing to oust tournament favourite John John Florence.

A perfect 10 sealed the deal for the Portuguese rookie in a contest that delivered an average wave score of 9.77.

He will face Medina – now the +250 leader in the outright betting at online bookmaker – in the semi finals.

“The waves are so much fun out there,” Morais said.

“We had a little adventure out there with the shark at the beginning but everything was great and we’re safe and taken care of.

“Every time I surf against John we have some really close heats and some really tough match-ups.

“He had me on the ropes until the last minute but I had priority and I used it well.

“I love a good challenge and this heat was a big, big challenge and I loved it and I’m into the semis.

“Honestly I hate sharks, we don’t worry about that in Portugal so I’m not used to it, but we were safe so we surfed and it was fine.

“When you’re focused on the heat you forget all about that.

“It’s my first 10 point ride on the Championship Tour and on day like this and against John is emotional.”

The quarter finals continue on Thursday with local favourite Jordy Smith taking on an in-form Filipe Toledo, who won direct qualification to the last eight in round four.

“The wind is really good for airs right now,” Toledo said.

“It’s really hard to surf when the wind is like this so I decided to go to the air and it worked really good.

“The waves are pumping today so it was really fun and I’m ready for the quarter finals.”

Also in action are the Australian duo of Matt Wilkinson and Julian Wilson.

Outright betting for J-Bay Open 2017

+250 – Gabriel Medina

+350 – Jordy Smith

+375 – Frederico Morais

+450 – Filipe Toledo

+650 – Matt Wilkinson

+750 – Julian Wilson

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