OAHU, Hawaii: Battered, bloodied and beaten, Mick Fanning vowed to stay in Hawaii in the hope of repaying Joel Parkinson by carrying him triumphant up the beach after his heavyweight stoush for the world surfing championship.
Fanning sustained a severe gash to his left foot during a brutal third-round loss to American Shane Dorian at the Pipeline Masters that knocked him out of the title race. Now it's down to two men - Australia's twice runner-up Parkinson and defending 11-time champion Slater.
After receiving seven stitches and being ordered out of the water for a week, Fanning was desperate to pay back one of the finest sporting gestures he's seen during his long career.
Fanning shattered Parkinson by beating him for the world crown in 2009. But his countryman was the first person to greet him at the water's edge, lifting him on his shoulders to help carry him through the crowd.
''I remember that so well. If Joel wins it, I'll be doing the same for him,'' Fanning said. ''For him to do that was crazy, it was so big of him. It shows what kind of a bloke Joel is. Now I'm out of it, there's nothing I'd rather see than Joel being world champion. He deserves it. He's just an insane surfer. He's been my best mate for the longest time.''
Parkinson suffered three heavy wipeouts but still slotted into a sufficient number of strong rides to defeat Hawaiian wildcard Kalani Chapman as he entered the contest in round three on Sunday. He then slayed Pipe in round four to soar into the quarter-finals. ''It was pretty torturous waiting to surf,'' he said. ''There's obviously a bit at stake.''