Top barrel by wildcard spells end for Fanning
JULIAN Wilson continued his charge to the top of the World Surf League's Championship Tour with another heat win at Margaret River yesterday.
While some of his main world title contenders were surprisingly eliminated at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Wilson forged into the fourth round with a grinding points win, 7.50 to 6.77, over compatriot Adrian Buchan.
Wilson's world title aspirations were enhanced by the elimination of fellow Aussies Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning - both former world champions - and Brazil's Felipe Toledo.
Fourth in the tour standings after events at the Gold Coast and Victoria, the 26-year-old Wilson will jump to the top if he wins in Western Australia and Adriano de Souza is knocked out in round five or before.
Wilson and de Souza have been pitched into the same three-man heat.
The winner of that heat will progress to the quarter-finals.
The other two in the heat will go into the do-or-die fifth round.
Fanning was eliminated yesterday by West Australian wildcard Jay Davies, who a day earlier shocked world champion Gabriel Medina.
Davies beat Fanning after dropping into a towering barrel at The Box break.
"It was the steepest take-off and I just wanted to give it everything I had," Davies said. "I thought I was going to come off, but luckily I didn't."
South African Jordy Smith bowed out with a knee injury and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater scored a perfect 10 and a near-perfect heat total of 19.50 in his round three win over Glenn Hall.
THE Coast's Dimity Stoyle finished last in her three-woman opening round heat at Margaret River.
She managed a score of only 3.20, behind American Courtney Conlogue (15.54) and Hawaii's Malia Manuel (13.67).
Stoyle faces a crunch round two heat today.