WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

Mick Fanning faced his fears in style, returning to the site of the 2015 shark attack at J-Bay Open and capturing the title. 

By Joe Carberry
July 18, 2016

In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Mick Fanning faces his fears with style while the Nitro World Games went off in SLC.

Mick Fanning Wins J-Bay Open

Now that’s how you face your fears. Mick Fanning, who last year was now-famously attacked by a shark in the J-Bay Open, came back this year to the contest at South Africa’s most famed break and took out the field for an impressive win. In a webcast that was tough for Northern Hemisphere audiences to catch because of the time difference, Fanning once again showed that despite all the aerial progression going on in the sport, winning contests still comes down to beautiful rail work and wave choice. The WSL was forced to run the contest on a smaller day than the rest of the contest but that didn’t deter Fanning, who beat Julian Wilson in the semis, then took down John John Florence in the finals with this crisply-surfed 9.93. Fanning is now 5th overall in the rankings and the win puts him in an easy position to re-qualify for next year after declaring early in the year that he’ll be surfing a modified schedule in 2016 to spend time with family. Meanwhile, Florence moved into second overall just 2,350 points behind Matt Wilkinson. With Teahupoo and Trestles ahead and Gabriel Medina a close third, the back half of the year looks to be a good one.

First-ever Nitro Circus World Games

Nitro Circus creator Travis Pastrana had to be fairly pleased with his first-ever, Nitro World Games, which went off this weekend at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. In an event created to seemingly compete with summer X Games, athletes put on a good show in prime time Saturday night on NBC, including 22-year-old Ryan Williams, a freestyle scooter rider from Australia who recently transferred into BMX riding. But the transition was rather seamless—and it showed in Williams’s style. He brought a flair and fluidity—obviously gained from his time on a blade--that definitely separated him from the rest of the field as he won the BMX big trick contest.  “This was the best day of my life so far,” he said. Check out his three runs, below.

There were certainly some firsts in the event as athletes pushed the envelope in front of a national audience. Check out moto athlete Gregg Duffy pull the first-ever double front flip in competition. He obviously won that sport’s big trick contest. Motorized vehicles just aren’t supposed to do this stuff:

Grass Skiing World Cup is So On!

Yes, this is a real sport. The FIS Grass Skiing World Cup is halfway through its six scheduled events after last weekend’s race in Austria. Aspiring World Cup competitors and up-and-coming European groms proliferate the off-season tour where competitors use short skis with wheels that resemble tank treads to race through gates on grass courses. Mirko Hueppi (Sweden) Edoardo Frau (Italy) and Jan Gardavsky (Czech Republic) are 1-2-3 in the men’s overall standings while Jaqueline Gerlach (Austria) Barbara Mikova (Slovakia) and Kristin Hetfleisch (Austria) are leading on the women’s side. The second half of the grass season kicks off August 20 in Santa Caterina, Italy. Thankfully, the real World Cup (on snow) is less than 100 days away.

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