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Billabong Pro: Mick Fanning & Jaime O’Brien Out

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

kelly slater billabong proFor the first time in 2 years, reigning world champion and current world no.3 Mick Fanning will finish a WCT event with the dreaded T-33 next to his name. Fanning was upset by Brazilian wildcard surfer Bruno Santos 10.00 to 9.17 in round 2 of a Billabong Pro that is really starting to liven up. “Things could be better,” Fanning said. “Every wave was a battle for fours and fives out there. They weren’t opening up and then I was either too wide or too deep – I couldn’t find the happy medium, but it happens. The waves were good, I wasn’t good.”

Fanning won’t be the only big name making a sooner than expected exit from Teahupoo. Jamie O’Brien had the unexpected misfortune of meeting Kelly Slater in rd. 2 following Slater’s round 1 loss to ‘Chopes-specialist Manoa Drollet. Kelly came out firing in their heat and O’Brien quickly found himself in an a combination hole that would lead him to sharing the same fate as Fanning following an 18.70 to 13.90 loss.

Kelly has now moved into rd. 3 where he will face the man responsible for putting him up against O’Brien in the first place, Manoa Drollet. “It’s excellent to beat Kelly,” Drollet said. “I feel bad, he was a bit pissed, but it’s a contest. I was lucky to get the best two waves of the heat, Kelly got one in the end and he almost came back. In this competition, the guy who gets the good waves is going to win the heat, and that was me today.” Drollet kept Slater out of position for most of their rd. 1 heat, forcing Kelly to take off deeper than he wanted do which resulted in the 8x world-champ getting pitched a time or two. Their rd. 3 match-up will surely see both surfers coming out ready for battle.

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Billabong Pro Tahiti Underway

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

2008 billabong pro tahitiAfter 5 days of waiting and watching, the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti is officially getting underway. The waves are in the 3 foot range and although it’s not the Teahupoo we’ve all come to love seeing, 3 foot swell here is still able to lay down a dirty-licking from time to time.

As the first heats are getting going there is still no sign of Kelly Slater anywhere in Tahiti. It has been assumed that Kelly will show up, but maybe the lack of swell has sent the WCT point leader chasing waves in some other part of the world. He’s scheduled to surf in heat 8 today against C.J. Hobgood and Manoa Drollett so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Looks like just another case of Kelly being Kelly.

Contest Director Luke Egan has been on pins and needles with each passing day of the holding period. The new swell is expected to continue building and has him as well as all of the competitors optimistic. The plan today is to cram in as much surfing as possible and hopefully begin moving into the 2nd round. That should make for one hell of a day and anyone interested in catching the action live can check it out here.

billabongasp world tourwctteahupoo

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2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti Right Around the Corner

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

2008 billabong pro tahitiWhen you’re a wave like Teahupoo, you don’t really need any hype thrown your way. With that being said, I’m throwing hype anyway. We’re just about two weeks out from the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti. And if the swell trends continue this could possibly be one of the all-time events at the bone-crushing left.

Teahupoo has made quite a name for itself in not much more than a decades time. The break that was once thought to be unsurfable, will be on display for it’s 10th WCT event From May 8-18 and as we covered previously, it has taken it upon itself to remind all surfers that it’s right around the corner with its thrashing of last years champ Damien Hobgood.

Those hoping to catch Kelly Slater in the ‘CT standings know how crucial it is do well at this event. If Slater locks this up, or even finishes in the top 5, his 9th world championship may be all but locked up. Mick Fanning knows this and is once again arriving early to get some practice time in. “Kelly had an amazing start and I had a lot of things happening,” Fanning said. “Really good things, but I have finally had some time to myself and I feel really excited about competing again. I’m looking forward to Tahiti. It is always a great event.”

Yep, we’re only two weeks away from the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti….

Past Billabong Pro Tahiti Champions:
2007: Damien Hobgood (USA)
2006: Bobby Martinez (USA)
2005: Kelly Slater (USA)
2004: CJ Hobgood (USA)
2003: Kelly Slater (USA)
2002: Andy Irons (HAW)
2001: Cory Lopez (USA)
2000: Kelly Slater (USA)
1999: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)

teahupoobillabongwctasp world tour

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Andy Irons Still in Contention

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

andy ironsSitting tied for 6th and only a dozen or so points away from 4th – after the first two events – wouldn’t be much to worry about on a normal year on the WCT. It was pretty clear coming into 2008 that this would be anything but a normal year and this years ‘CT has lived up to every bit of hype that had been bestowed upon it. Kelly Slater has apparently decided to go Tiger Woods on us, and that has left many wondering where the hopes of Andy Irons reclaiming the throne for himself and Hawaii sit after Snapper and Bells.

Although he has been at times slightly inconsistent, the only person to eliminate A.I. this year has been Slater. With the level that Kelly is currently performing on, that really isn’t much to be ashamed about. Yet at some point in the very near future Andy is going to have to start coming out on top of these match-ups if he wants to stay in contention. The best 9-of-11 format gives him an opportunity to hopefully replace one of those quarterfinal losses with a better scoring result. He’s going to need every single point he can pick up with Kelly, Bede Durbidge, Mick Fanning, and all of the other contenders showing no signs of slowing down.

Andy has his sights squarely set on going big in the upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti, that will be held in May. He rides Teahupoo probably as well as any regular-footer alive, and a win here would have him right near the very top once again. And that is exactly is where Andy Irons loves to be.

andy ironswct

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2008 WCT Top 12: Kelly Slater On Top

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

After the first two events (Snapper Rocks and Bells) of the 2008 ASP World Tour, the top twelve are as follows -

1. Kelly Slater (USA)- 2400 pts.
2. Bede Durbidge (AUS)- 1908 pts.
3. Mick Fanning (AUS)- 1764 pts.
4. Taj Burrow (AUS)- 1476 pts.
4. Jeremy Flores (FRA)- 1476 pts.
6. Andy Irons (HAW)- 1464 pts.
6. Joel Parkinson (AUS)- 1464 pts.
8. Bobby Martinez (USA)- 1286 pts.
9. Kai Otton (AUS)- 1200 pts.
9. Adriano de Souza (BRA)- 1200 pts.
11. Adrian Buchan (AUS)- 1142 pts.
11. Dane Reynolds (USA)- 1142 pts.

Not a whole lot of surprises so far. The “Usual Suspects” are all in solid positions It’s good to see Dane up near the top after a couple of events. I thought his surfing exceeded everyone else’s at Bells and was just hit with bad luck against Taj in the quarters. Goofy’s like Bobby Martinez and “Ace” Buchan have to be pumped on flipping things around on Teahupoo’s left, especially the defending champ Martinez. Speaking of Teahupoo, Kelly Slater is going to have a tough time fooling anyone into thinking that there is even the slightest chance he won’t be there. I still think he will end up skipping a couple of events this year, this just won’t be one of them.

asp world tourkelly slaterwct

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Kelly Slater Rings the Bell: Back to Back Victories

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

kelly slater rip curl pro bells beachKelly Slater has done it…. again! By taking a big risk in the final and making the paddle a few hundred yards down the beach to Rincon he showed us once again why he is “The King.” Boosting a huge air with just minutes left in the heat, Kelly got the score he was chasing the entire heat. Bede Durbidge surfed as well as you could expect leading pretty much the entire heat, but Slater just wouldn’t be denied.

Congratulations Kelly Slater on winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach! We look forward to watching you in Tahiti.

rip curlasp world tourwctkelly slaterbede durbidge

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Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Kelly Slater Is In

Monday, March 17th, 2008

kelly slater wins quiksilver pro goldcoastAs I watched Tiger Woods pull off yet another amazing victory on the PGA Tour yesterday, I started thinking about what the tournaments are like when he isn’t playing. There are still great players playing great golf, but it just isn’t the same and everyone knows it.

As Tiger is to golf, Kelly is to surfing. As long as he is performing at his peak level, any victory by other surfers in an event that Slater doesn’t show up to will be followed with a “that’s great,but….”

It is for this reason that Kelly’s recent decision to participate in the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach should bring smiles to the faces of the surfing world and fellow competitors alike.

Despite winning the first event of the year at Snapper Rocks, Slater remained uncertain as to whether or not he would attend the Rip Curl Pro. After 14 years on tour, the 8-time ASP World Champion has been adamant that he will compete selectively in 2008 in order to pursue other interests. Slater even went as far as to call and officially withdraw his name from the event. Thats when Mother Nature came through. When told of the stellar forecast for the event Slater reconsidered. He stated the combination of world-class waves and pleas of many helped in his decision to show up, and we are all better off for that.

There were some pretty strong responses about wanting to see me there. So that, the swell, and some changes in my personal life and suddenly it was perfect timing for me to get away. All the signs pointed this direction so it seemed like the thing to do.

asp world tourrip curlkelly slaterwct

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Kelly Slater Claims Victory at Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

kelly slater wins quiksilver pro goldcoastLeading up to the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast all of the talk and hype was centered around the ‘Coolie-kids’ as well as Jordy and Dane’s first full year on tour. That was just fine with Kelly as it took much of the focus and pressure off of him.

Eight-time world champion Kelly Slater started of this years ASP world tour on top with an unbelievably impressive performance at Snapper Rocks. Making this victory all the more impressive is the fact that Slater had to face 3-time world champ Andy Irons and then follow that match-up with a semifinal battle with last years rookie of the year Jeremy Flores just to make it to the final.

In the final, Slater overcame hometown favorite (as well as some hometown judging, but more on that later) Mick Fanning 17.94 to 15.23 to claim his second Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast title and position himself atop the ratings for the first time since claiming his last ASP World Crown in 2006.

Where does that leave the future of Slater as far as the tour goes? That seemed to be the question on everyones minds following his triumph. The way it’s looking, with it apparent that not even Slates knows if he’s going to be at the next stop at Bells, that question won’t be answered until the last few days leading up to the event.

So will he continue on to number 9? Who knows. But for now, Congratulations Kelly Slater, the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Champion!

asp world tourwctkelly slater
quiksilver

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