What: Billabong Pro Tahiti Presented by Air Tahiti Nui, ASP World Tour Event # 3
Where: Teahupoo Taiarapu-Tahiti
When: 8 – 18 May 2008
Wildcards Leave Slater and Burrow in their Wake in Round 3
Eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and last year’s World No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) were Round 3 casualties to Billabong Pro Tahiti wildcards today. Bruno Santos (BRA), who eliminated reigning World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) in a tight heat yesterday, beat Burrow in a much more convincing fashion today when he earned an early 8.33 to take a lead he never relinquished.
“It’s so good to surf against the best surfers and beat the guys,” Santos said. “This heat was so different than my heat yesterday. I got a big score at the beginning, got priority and then I got another big score, a 9.27, so I am really happy. Hopefully I can keep going, I really want to make the final.”
Local surfer Manoa Drollet (PYF), who won his Round 1 heat over Slater and C.J. Hobgood yesterday, beat the World No. 1 with a 14.00 heat total despite Slater catching the best wave of the heat, a 9.83, in the dying minutes of the heat.
“To beat Kelly Slater is pretty much as good as it gets but to win the contest would be even better,” Drollet said. “I got lucky, again like in the first round, when I got the best wave right at the beginning. I was in the lead and I was more relaxed and there weren’t many waves at the end of the heat, so he couldn’t do anything.”
Slater was handed a priority interference penalty for paddling for a wave Drollet wanted and had priority on so his second scoring ride wasn’t counted. Even if it had, Slater would have come up short 13.26 to Drollet’s 14.00.
“I paddled probably one paddle too much,” Slater said of the interference. “I sort of judged it like Manoa wasn’t going to catch it and I paddled a little more than I obviously would have and then it was too late. That’s the way it goes, I made a little mistake and out here at Teahupoo the chances of coming back from an interference are almost nil.”
Slater will retain his No. 1 rating after the Billabong Pro Tahiti despite his equal 17th finish today. His closest threats still in the competition are Andy Irons (HAW) and Joel Parkinson (AUS), both of whom are rated 6th in the world right now. Should one of them win the event, they would move to World No. 2 behind Slater.
“We’ll see what happens,” Slater said. “Taj went down and Mick went down so that’s good for me if I’m going to look at the whole year,” Slater said. “It gives Andy and Parko a chance to catch up but the best one of them can do is a 5th I think, because they’re going to knock each other out. Then there’s Bede we’ll see how Bede goes. This isn’t his strong wave, but he could get a good result.”
Durbidge, who came into the event World No. 2, didn’t get a strong result and was knocked by an in form Chris Ward (USA) in the second to last heat of the day. Ward earned one of three perfect 10s awarded today, but was the only surfer earning one to advance. Tiago Pires (PRT) earned a 10.00 but lost his heat to Parkinson on an interference mistake and Leonardo Neves (BRA) needed more than a 10.00 and a 6.90 to beat Bruce Irons’ (HAW) 18.33 in Round 2.
ASP Rookies Dane Reynolds (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) went head to head in Heat 3 of Round 3.
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.50 def. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 12.47
Heat 2: Luke Stedman (AUS) 17.53 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.4
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 18.17 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.23
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.06 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10
Heat 5: Dean Morrison (AUS) 17.94 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 15
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.63 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 16.40
Heat 7: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 17.66 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 11.37
Heat 8: Manoa Drollet (PYF) 14.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.83
Heat 9: Bruno Santos (BRA) 17.60 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.00
Heat 10: Tim Reyes (USA) 16.74 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 12.33
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.94 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.40
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.83 def. Danny Wills (AUS) 9.17
Heat 13: Chris Ward (USA) 19.17 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.30
Heat 14: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 19.64 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 14.06
Remaining Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 15: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Miky Picon (FRA)
Heat 16: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 5: Bruno Santos (BRA) vs.Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 6: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 7: Chris Ward (USA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 8: TBA