TEAHUPOO TAHITI May 18: An action packed day at the Billabong Pro Tahiti has seen nine time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) and current world no.1 Joel Parkinson (Aus) bundled out of the ASP men’s world tour event.Thirty-eight year old Slater suffered a shock second-round loss to little-known Spaniard Aritz Aranburu....
Thirty-eight year old Slater suffered a shock second-round loss to little-known Spaniard Aritz Aranburu while breakaway tour leader Parkinson went down to veteran tour campaigner Taylor Knox (USA) in round three.
The loss leaves Slater's world title defense in tatters after the worst run of results of his professional career with three equal 17th placings. Parkinson remains very much in contention with two wins from three events.
Teahupo’o may not have been at its barreling best but still on turned on classic 1.5 metre (3-5ft) tubes for the worlds best surfers, many of whom, including Slater and Parkinson commenced their campaigns today. The remaining ten heats of round two were completed along with the first four heats of round three.
Earlier in the day Parkinson advanced over local Teahupo’o wildcard Heiarii Williams (PYF) to finish with an equal 9th result after his round three elimination.
Thirty-seven year-old Slater was always under pressure in his opening round two heat. His younger opponent locked in a near perfect 9.77 barrel ride early. Slater answered back with an 8.50 score to remain in the hunt but failed to find another counting ride.
Brilliant tactics by the 23 year-old Zarautz surfer saw him secure a 7.50 backup ride that left Slater requiring an 8.80. The three time Billabong Pro Tahiti champion, only managed a 6.50 in the dying seconds to be eliminated in equal 17th.
Lone remaining European surfer Aranburu posted the day’s high heat score of 17.27 to Slater’s 15:00 (out of a possible 20).
Thirty-eight year-old Californian Knox ended the amazing run of results of tour leader Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, Aus) with a devastating performance that included a 9.03 in his total heat tally of 15.46 to his opponents 5.57 heat total.
The regular-footer's patented rail-to-rail power surfing combined with years of competitive experience proved too strong on the day. Knox moving though to the quarter finals while 28 year-old Parkinson forced to settle for an equal ninth.
Three time world champion and wildcard surfer Andy Irons (Haw) continued to gain momentum, eliminating former world no.2 Bede Durbidge (Aus) from round two. In one of the days tougher match-up, Irons donned his contest jersey with ease gliding over the razor sharp reef by surfing high and loose in the tricky conditions.
The 30 year-old is competing in his first event of the season after opting for a years hiatus from full time touring. Irons will next meet 2006 Billabong Pro Tahiti champion Bobby Martinez (USA) in round three of competition.
World no.6 Adriano de Souza (BRZ) continued his impressive run of results over 2009 moving through to round three of the Billabong Pro Tahiti after defeating talented tour rookie Dustin Barca (Haw). The 22 year-old putting it all on the line on his final ride to lock in a 7.00 and claim victory.
Not so lucky Heitor Alves (BRZ) eliminated from his round two heat by South African sensation Jordy Smith. The 21 year-old posted one of thew days top heat scores of 16.33 to outpoint Alves on 14.34 in one of the days closest heats.
Also moving through to round three were Damien Hobgood (USA), Mick Fanning (Aus) and Tom Whitaker (Aus).
Surfers moving through to the quarter finals include former event champion C J Hobgood (USA)
REMAINING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 11.50 def Kai Otton (AUS) 10.63
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.26 vs. Heiarii Williams (PYF) 9.67
Heat 9: Andy Irons (HAW) 13.16 def Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12:00
Heat 10: Bobby Martinez (USA) 9.17 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 7.94
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.67 def. Dustin Barca (HAW) 8.80
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.33 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.34
Heat 13: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 17.27 def Kelly Slater (USA) 15:00
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.06 def. Dean Morrison (AUS)9.00
Heat 15: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.84 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 11.43
Heat 16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 14.16 def Tim Boal (FRA) 4.50
ROUND THREE HEATS
Heat 1 C J Hobgood (USA)15.50 def Jay Thompson (Aus) 6.17
Heat 2 Taj Burrow (Aus) 12.04 def Kieren Perrow (Aus) 9.40
Heat 3 Mick Campbell (Aus) 15.07 def Josh Kerr (Aus) 8.50
Quarter Final Match-Ups
QF1 - C J Hobgood (USA) Vs. Taj Burrow (Aus)
QF2 - Mick Campbell (Aus) Vs. Taylor Knox (USA)