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Kelly Bows Out As Taj Dominates At Drug Aware Pro

Joel Parkinson
Julian Wilson
Kelly Slater
Taj Burrow
Billy Stairmand
Granger Larsen
Michel Bourez
Taj Burrow
Julian Wilson

Friday at Margaret River for the 2011 Telstra Drug Aware Pro provided even more shock and awe than the macking day before had. An unheard of New Zealander by the name of Billy Stairmand took out 10x World Champ Kelly Slater, much to the chagrin of Slates. "I wasn't expecting anything," said an elated Billy. "I just wanted to go out and have fun and make the most of having a man-on-man heat with Kelly Slater. Now I'm the happiest I've ever been—I feel like I won the contest!"

But that wasn’t all. Taj Burrow was surely the on-point surfer of the day, dropping 17+ points in his victory over Kai Otton, then dropping a 10 and an 8 in the 12-man no losers round. It shows that local knowledge in lumpy conditions at a tricky place like Margaret River pays off—plus Taj is surfing the best he ever has (it seems we say that each year, and yet still no World Title…). Julian Wilson also silenced any remaining critics knocking out Parko and then Mick.

With only one day of competition remaining, things look like they’ll be crowning champs Saturday as the swell is predicted to drop significantly, allowing everyone to take those shortboards back out. Watch all the action live at telstradrugawarepro.com.

Women's ASP 6-Star Telstra Drug Aware Pro Quarterfinals Match Ups:
1.
Sage Erickson (USA) V Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
2. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) V Silvana Lima (BRA)
3. Rebecca Woods (AUS) V Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
4. Paige Hareb (NZ) V Courtney Conlogue (USA)

Men's ASP PRIME Telstra Drug Aware Pro Match Ups:
1.
Granger Larsen (HAW) V Marc Lacomare (France)
2. Damien Hobgood (USA) V Jadson Andre (BRA)
3. Yadin Nicol (AUS) V Julian Wilson (AUS)
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) V Willian Cardosa (BRA)

Taj tagging an unsuspecting Margaret River lip. Photo courtesy ASPwfzatqrsdrzyxryssczyvvawstfddwbcu
Taj tagging an unsuspecting Margaret River lip. Photo courtesy ASP

Head to the next page for the official ASP press release.

MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Friday, April 8, 2011) – Contrasting conditions at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME rated Telstra Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River – the howling onshore winds and rain squalls from yesterday were swapped for a gentle offshore breeze and sunshine. With the swell still in the 8 to 10 foot range it was a memorable day of both surprize and stella performances.

21-year-old New Zealander Billy Stairmand (NZ) is now a hero to all Kiwi surf fans and his fellow competitors after he beat Kelly Slater (USA) in their round of 24 clash.

"I wasn't expecting anything," said an elated Billy. "I just wanted to go out and have fun and make the most of having a man-on-man heat with Kelly Slater. Now I'm the happiest I've ever been – I feel like I won the contest!"

Kelly was clearly disappointed with his early exit, but the ultimate competitor knows that losing is just a part competing.

"You're gonna lose heats," said Slater. " No matter how good you're doing, at some point that bad heat comes along and for me it was today."

Young Frenchman Marc Lacomare sent his roommate in Margaret River, Aritz Aranburu packing in the round of 24 battle. Both surfers held the lead throughout the heat, but it was Lacomare who got the nod.

"I took a long time to catch my first wave," said Marc. "I only caught two waves in the heat, but I guess that's all you need. It's not easy out there, but it's fun when you get them."

The clear standout performers of the day were local lads Taj Burrow and Yadin Nicol. Both dominated their heats and put their local knowledge to work heading into the last day of competition. Taj particuarly impressive posting a perfect 10 point ride late in the day!

Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning surfed an incredible late heat and it was Wilson who bagged an incredible double for the day by eliminating Fanning on the back of his earlier performance eliminating Parkinson. Wilson and Fanning actually tied on 16.20 points but Wilson won it on a count-back to his top scoring ride of a 9.2.

Both the men's and women's finals are expected to run tomorrow as the swell is expected to die by Sunday.

The day starts early tomorrow with Quarterfinals as follows –

Women's ASP 6-Star Telstra Drug Aware Pro Quarterfinals Match Ups:
1.
Sage Erickson (USA) V Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
2. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) V Silvana Lima (BRA)
3. Rebecca Woods (AUS) V Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
4. Paige Hareb (NZ) V Courtney Conlogue (USA)

Men's ASP PRIME Telstra Drug Aware Pro Match Ups:
1.
Granger Larsen (HAW) V Marc Lacomare (France)
2. Damien Hobgood (USA) V Jadson Andre (BRA)
3. Yadin Nicol (AUS) V Julian Wilson (AUS)
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) V Willian Cardosa (BRA)

Spectator entry to the Telstra Drug Aware Pro is free. For more information, visit telstradrugawarepro.com.