Title contenders fell and Perfect 10’s were scored on the biggest day in history* at cooking Teahupo’o during Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Dion Atkinson defeated Mick Fanning in the final heat of the day.
It started slow though, as both the first two heats of the day endured long lulls and had to be re-started after no waves were ridden in the opening minutes. But when the sets came then high scores were easy to find, which Tiago Pires (POR) showed in the second heat of the day against title contender, Taj Burrow (AUS). The Portuguese barrel master found all the best waves and rode some very technical barrels to rack-up an 18.67 (9.00 and 9.67) heat total to send the Western Australian packing.
Taj wasn’t the last title contender to lose in Round 3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) lost to Brett Simpson (USA), who is on a roll again after breaking his Round 2 duck by beating Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the previous round. Meanwhile, Mick Fanning (AUS) couldn’t keep up the momentum from his win in J-Bay last month and was well beaten by Dion Atkinson in the final heat of the day.
John John Steals The Show:
Stealing most of the show in Round 3 were John John Florence (HAW) and Kelly Slater (USA). JJF came gliding out of the sickest tube of the day and was rewarded with a Perfect 10 from the judges. It was hard to tell with all the spit getting blasted out of the thunderous barrel, but JJF appeared to clasp his hands together as if in prayer to give thanks, perhaps, at discovering surfing Nirvana. The Hawaiian backed it up with a 9.93 to score a near-perfect 19.93 heat total, which was the day’s highest.
Kelly Slater was up two heats later and wouldn’t be outdone. Instead of hands clasped together like John John, the 11-time world champ showed that his palms weren’t on his rails by standing with his arms outstretched inside some cavernous Chopes tubes. His heat scores read like this; 9.00; 9.33; 9.57; 9.20; 9.87; and a 5.50 plus 0.37 victory lap – a master class in backside tube riding.
Kelly Slater takes off where few can.
If you’re still hanging on to some, you can also cast any remaining doubts aside about Gabriel Medina’s ability in serious waves. The Brazilian was the next highest scoring surfer in Round 3 following JJF and Kelly, and advanced to Round 4 by defeating wildcard Nathan Hedge. Gabriel clearly has no intention of letting go off his rankings lead and seeing a handful of the contenders lose in Round 3 will fire him up.
CJ Hobgood (USA) lost to Bede Durbidge (AUS) on a count back after their slow heat ended in a stalemate. Bede’s 8.17 high score was better than CJ’s 6.43 and enough to see him through to Round 4. Others advancing to the next round were : Ace Buchan (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Kolohe Andino (USA); Kai Otten (AUS); Owen Wright (AUS).
ROUND 3 HIGHLIGHTS:
Check out all the heat reviews, highlights and results on aspworldtour.com
* According to the ASP, who must certainly be talking about wave heights.