Kelly Slater (USA) reigning 10 time ASP World Champion, has claimed the Billabong Pro Tahiti over Owen Wright (AUS) in clean 4 – 6 foot waves at Teahupo’o.
Slater began to really pick up steam in yesterday’s conditions, dispatching of Josh Kerr (AUS) in the Semifinals before meeting lethal goofy footer Wright in the Finals.
The iconic American utilized his superior backhand tube riding technique to post an 18.43 heat total out of a possible 20, which would prove too much for his younger opponent to overcome.
“I felt like I finally hit my stride in the Semifinals this morning,” Slater said. “In the Final, I fell on a couple of waves that were maybe better than what I ended up getting scored on. It put the pressure on me, and took the pressure off him (Wright).
He got that really big one at the end that could have gotten pretty close to the score. These are the best conditions this event has ever run in. It’s been a phenomenal week.”
Coming into Tahiti rated No. 6 on the ASP World Title rankings, Slater’s win today rockets the Floridian to the No. 1 spot after a number of top seeds suffered early eliminations at the hands of an unmerciful Teahupo’o.
“It’s one of those weird events where you have to scramble through the early rounds,” Slater said. “Every year at this event, there are few of the top guys that lose in the early rounds and you have to scramble if you want a result here.
You have to be in tune with the tides, swell direction and everything to make sure you get those waves that get you the score.”
Today’s win marked Slater’s 47th elite tour victory (out of 67 Finals appearances).
Travis Logie (ZAF) gained entry into the Billabong Pro Tahiti will the withdrawal of Bobby Martinez (USA), 29, from competition.
Formerly sitting at the 44th spot on the ASP World Rankings, Logie’s equal 3rd place finish at Teahupo’o moves the South African up to 34th on the rankings in hopes of cementing himself as an ASP Top 34 member after the September rotation.
“It’s been an unbelievable week for me,” Logie said. “I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. I was in Europe, I barely made it here in time, I’ve been on borrowed equipment, I’ve been banged up on the reef, I had a re-surf with my good mate Jordy (Smith) and I’ve also scored the best result of my career.
It’s all happened very fast. So yeah, I’m happy with how everything’s worked out, but would have liked to have made that Final.”
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.43
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 17.10
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.60
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.50 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.40
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.94 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.83
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.17
QF 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 18.07 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 17.14
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.74 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.10
ASP WORLD TITLE RANKINGS TOP 5 (After Billabong Pro Tahiti)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 26,950 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26,500 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 22,750 pts
5. Owen Wright (AUS) 21,900 pts