Fanning loses opening heat in Fiji

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Mick Fanning will face compatriot Kai Otton in an elimination second-round clash when action resumes at the World Surf League event in Fiji on Monday.

Fanning lost his non-elimination opening heat, finishing second behind Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas with Otton third at Cloudbreak on Sunday.

Three-time world champion Fanning could only manage a combined wave score of 11.9 while Dantas racked up 15.6.

The 34-year-old Fanning, who is taking a sabbatical this season after drama-filled 2015, finished 13th and third respectively in the first two events of the year on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach before missing the Margaret River Pro and the last competition in Rio.

Gold Coast surfer Fanning said he would compete intermittently when he announced in February he would be taking a personal year.

He has already indicated he would most likely surf at Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa this year where he survived a shark attack while competing in 2015.

Fanning finished second to Brazilian Adrian de Souza in the world title race at the season-ending Pipe Masters in Hawaii, in the same week where the Australian's brother Peter died of heart issues.

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