The Australian surfer defeated John John Florence by a narrow margin - only 0.57 points - in an exciting final held in two-to-four-foot waves. Fanning overcame the shark attack experience and raised the trophy in the South African right-hand point break.
Fanning surfed his fourth consecutive final at Jeffreys Bay. Despite suffering an ankle injury before the event, Mick led his small board with a thruster setup to victory.
"It's a different feeling, that's for sure. You know, the emotional build-up, even just coming back... It was really different. And then, having a semi with Julian was really special. He's a great guy. I'm just stoked I got to come back," express Mick Fanning.
"It was always my plan to right the wrongs that happened last year. We did that, and now we can move on. I don't really care about results, but I just want to thank everyone who supported me last year - from my family and friends, sponsors, WSL. Let's go celebrate!"
Mick Fanning confirmed he will be competing at Lower Trestles, but it might be the last event of the year for him. He is now fifth in the World Surf League rankings.
"I just feel a lot lighter. Not going for world titles, you don't have that pressure. I am really enjoying my surfing, and trying new things, new boards, and having a lot of fun with my friends," concluded Mick.
J-Bay Open 2016 | Final
1. Mick Fanning (AUS), 17.70
2. John John Florence (HAW), 17.13