In near-perfect conditions with six-foot waves and light winds, Fanning posted a 9.70/10 as he moved into the round of 24.
"I was stoked the heat started right when a set came through," Australian Fanning told the ASP website. "I just tried to stick to my game plan and I got lucky that I caught one really sick left. I took off and it had a really good wall. It sort of doubled up and I did one turn and looked back up and there was another section, then finished with a floater.
"I’m riding a 6’3 DHD, it felt really good out there. It’s good to be back in Margaret River."
The highest overall score went to reigning world champion Kelly Slater, who reached a combined score of 17.76, by far the most consistent surfer of the day.
"The waves were really nice and clean," Slater said. "I got a couple of good waves at the start and was pretty confident I’d make it through the heat no matter what happened. So I just tried to have some fun after that.
"It’s double overhead out there, but I think the swell is dying off tonight and tomorrow, but then the day after tomorrow we will have another big swell."
Round of 48 results:
HEAT 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.77, Gabe Kling (USA) 15.46, Jay Quinn (NZL) 14.83, Messias Felix (BRA) 8.60
HEAT 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 17.04, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.00, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.90, Joan Duru (FRA) 6.16
HEAT 3: Blake Thornton (AUS) 14.27, Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 12.67, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.46, Jadson Andre (BRA) 4.60
HEAT 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.17, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.00, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 6.80, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 5.90
HEAT 5: Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 14.77, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.77, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.57, Tom Innes (AUS) 8.40
HEAT 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.76, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 16.13, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.34, Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.03
HEAT 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.13, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.83, Granger Larsen (HAW) 9.37, Heath Joske (AUS) 7.70
HEAT 8: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.46, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.50, Brent Dorrington (AUS) 6.72, Charles Martin (GLP) 6.33
HEAT 9: John John Florence (HAW) 16.56, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 12.04, Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.40, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 9.43
HEAT 10: CJ Hobgood (USA) 15.16, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 12.37, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 12.10, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.76
HEAT 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.07, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.04, Chris Friend (AUS) 9.87, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 5.16
HEAT 12: Brian Toth (PRI) 13.53, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.90, Dale Staples (ZAF) 10.34, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.67
Round of 96 results:
HEAT 21: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.67, Brian Toth (PRI) 11.67, Glenn Hall (IRL) 10.83, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 9.67
HEAT 22: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.34, Dale Staples (ZAF) 11.97, Evan Geiselman (USA) 11.46, Jano Belo (BRA) 6.70
HEAT 23: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.67, Gabriel Villaran (PER) 11.37, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.20, Adrien Toyon (REU) 7.48
HEAT 24: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.44, Chris Friend (AUS) 11.74, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 8.77, Mason Ho (HAW) 8.34