Slater Re-Writes The Record Books With Two Perfect Tens To Win The Billabong ProTahiti.

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
Foster’ s Men ‘ s World Tour.
Women ‘ s ASP World Championship Tour.
Teahupoo, Tahiti, May 5th – 17th, 2005.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Men’s May 5-17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti Girl ‘ s May 5-15th

(Runner-up Damien Hobgood Dislocates Shoulder in Repeat 2004 FinalsPerformance)

PRODUCING two perfect 10 point rides, pro’ surfing’s freak of freaks,six-times world champion Kelly Slater (USA) today proved he was still the man tobeat on the Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s World Tour, winning the final of Billabong ProTahiti with savvy and commitment that defied comprehension in faultless 4-6 ‘ +(2m) waves at Teahupoo. Here in the French territory of tropical Tahiti, it wasmagnifique Slater, winning a magnifique event in magnifique conditions.

Slater ‘ s ultimate scoreline of 20 out of a possible 20 points, an ASP WorldRecord, eclipsed his own previously standing record for the highest two-wave heatscore of 19.93 attained in the third round of last year ‘ s Billabong Pro Tahitiagainst local wildcard Alain Riou.

This event was an event that superseded many records, firstly in terms of waiting,as continual showers and marginal surf conditions beleaguered the start of theevent until the last four days of the event, then with the back-to-back anointingof perfect conditions that the event was delivered in those same four days, andthen finally, but foremost, the exceptional standards of surfing that the Foster’ s Men ‘ s World Tour Top 45 delivered throughout the draw.

The only negative of what was an otherwise incredible day of surfing energy andspirit was the demise of Slater ‘ s contender in the 35-minute final DamienHobgood USA), who dislocated his shoulder half way through the concluding chapterof this epic of epic events.

Hobgood ‘ s injury duplicated an identical situation in the final of last year’ s Billabong Pro Tahiti when Australia ‘ s Nathan Hedge dislocated his shoulder seven minutes into last year ‘ s final against Damien Hobgood ‘ s brother CJ.

Beyond today ‘ s personal calamity for Hobgood, many assessed today ‘ s actionas one of the greatest days of competitive surfing ever witnessed. Adding anotherrecord to his cache of records, Slater also equalled reigning world champion AndyIrons ‘ record as three-time winner at the dredging left-hander of Teahupoo.

In the drama filled final, both surfers were in astounding form from this morning’ s opening round four heats as Teahupoo offered up the ideal arena with deep pits all day. “I’m just relieved it ‘ s all over. I was riding this high, and sometimes youfeel things lining up and you can ‘ t explain it. Today was one of those days,”said Slater.

“In the final I can’t explain it … I wasn’t expecting to get two perfecttens, but I knew it was possible out there, and that someone could do it,” said Slater.

“The waves just came to me and it ‘ s all about the waves coming to you, and youriding them right, and to their full potential”

Initially, Hobgood tried to answer back to Slater ‘ s early throwing down of thegauntlet with several twisting tube rides, but half way through the final he wasclipped by the heaving west bowl on the inside reef, thereby dislocating hisshoulder.

While Hobgood was ferried to shore by the Tahitian water patrol for medicalattention, Slater was left solo in the perfect line-up and rewrote the recordbooks clocking another perfect ten point ride setting an unbeatable record.

From his opening heat against Bruce Irons (HAW), the day belonged to Slater,serving notice early with the day ‘ s first perfect ten to deat the youngHawaiian. Irons Junior knew the danger.

” Even though I was leading by over 18 points at one stage, I was still freakingout, knowing that anything was possible with Kelly. He proved that right didn ‘t he! ” said Irons.

Many who witnessed Slater ‘ s freakish 10 point-ride touted it as the bestcompetitive wave ridden in ASP history, and the super surfer himself readilyagreed to including the ride high amongst his personally considered careerhighlights. When the greatest surfer of all time agrees to such a claim, you knowthat it ‘ s worthy.

Plummeting critically late out of the lip, the wind catching his board as hefree-fell, Slater landed on his rail and was thrown ridiculously sideways backinto the wall of the rapidly rifling wave. He somehow recovered from a physicsdynamic that defied recuperation, whilst still managing to be traversing under thecascading lip.

Slater continued on to surf a near perfect heat in each round of his path throughto the final, narrowly defeating defending champion C.J. Hobgood (USA) in thequarters, and then posting a convincing win over Taj Burrow (Yallingup, W.A.) inthe semi-finals.

“Bruce got a big lead on me early, and then I got that ten and I went, ‘I canwin this contest ‘ ,” said Slater. “You know that wave just basically inspiredme all day. This is definitely one of those moments; one of the most magical daysof my career for sure.”

For Hobgood, it was a bitter ending after looking like the only one capable ofconquering the seemingly unstoppable run of Slater. Amassing two perfect tens ofhis own throughout the Billabong Pro Tahiti tournament, the 25-year-old flew pastdangerous opponents Kalani Robb (HAW) in round four, Fredrick Patacchia Jnr (HAW)in the quarters ‘ and Hedge in the semi final.

While it was ultimately a severe shoulder dislocation that stopped hisdream of standing atop the Billabong Pro podium as victor, that lofty aspirationcould only have been achieved as co-event champion, when and if he could havematched Slater ‘ s perfect 20 point score.

Hobgood ‘ s second place finish lifts him to equal second position on the ASPWCT ratings after three events, alongside reigning world champion Andy Irons(HAW).

For Hedge, today’s semi-final finish cemented his status as a reveredTeahupoo charger. After narrowly defeating current ASP ratings leaderTrent Munro in the Australian pair ‘ s quarter final, Hedge could do little toovercome Hobgood in the following semi-finals, scoring a combined two-wave totalof 16.87, as opposed to his opponent ‘ s impeccable 18.33.

After breaking his board midway through the crucial clash, Hedge had to settle forequal third as Hobgood continued to thread his way through the warping Teahupoowest bowl and into the final.

West Australian surfer Taj Burrow again proved his worth as a Teahupoo chargerwith his semi-final finishing equal third today. It was the second time Slater hasgotten the better of the 26-year-old, after defeating him in the final to win theBillabong Pro Tahiti in 2003.

Burrow’s combined two wave score of 13.40 was not enough to match the rampagingSlater, who piled on two near-perfect nine point rides to finish with a 19.73 outof a possible 20.

Hawaiia ‘ s Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s World Tour rookie Fred Patacchia lookedcompletely at home at Teahupoo, using his intimate barrel riding skills honed onthe powerful Hawaiian reef breaks to thread his way through to a quarter final,and equal fifth place.

Brazilian surfer Paulo Moura, who had the South American continent onstandstill after a fanatical 10 point ride in yesterday’s competition, againproved himself as one of Brazil ‘ s best big wave surfers finishing 5th in theBillabong Pro Tahiti 2005. The lithe goofy footer charged through the fourth roundthis morning over Australian Tom Whittaker, but could not match the barrel ridingskills and relentless perseverance of Hedge in the quarter-finals.

Reigning world surfing champion Andy Irons uncharacteristically failed to find hisrhythm and was eliminated in round four by Australian Dean Morrison (Gold Coast).Morrison was forced to settle for an equal fifth placing after losing to Burrow inthe quarter-finals.

As the world ‘ s spotlight turned on Teahupoo for a marathon month of surfing,the reef break turned on the full range of elements from perfect spitting barrelsto heart thumping 6m mountains, to the on-shore rain drenched days of unsurfableslop.

The action commenced late April with the Air Tahiti Nui/Von Zipper Trials stagedin the best conditions of the tournaments five-year history, waves varying fromepic 3 metre slabs to perfect two metre barrels. Tahitian big wave surfing legend Manoa Drollet emerged victorious over aworld-class field of trialists.

Then, in what is now regarded as one of the most momentous surfing sessions ever,Teahupoo pulsed at its powerful best for two solid days with giant 6m wavesoffering ideal tow-in surfing conditions for the world ‘ s top ranked and bestbig wave surfers.

The world’s top 17 female surfers battled testing Teahupoo waves for two days with Australia’s Chelsea Georgeson claiming the Billabong Girls Pro Tahiti title. Then after a rain drenched 2 weeks of waiting for waves, Teahupoo turned on once again, on queue, throwing epic waves at the top Foster ‘s Top 45 men’s surfers for the final four days of the Billabong Pro Tahiti waitingperiod. The job is done!

The Billabong Pro Tahiti was delivered by Air Tahiti Nui is proudly supported byVon Zipper, Bose, Kustom and The Tahitian Surfing Federation.

Billabong Pro Live Webcast: www.billabongpro.com and www.aspworldtour.com eachday of the event utilizing live coverage in English, French and Portuguese, withthe event websites being translated into these three languages plus, Japanese andSpanish. Various camera angles, highlights and replays, weather and scoringinformation, direct viewer interaction, celebrity guests, interviews and more area part of the daily webcast program.From Paul Sargeant uncharacteristically failed to find hisrhythm and was eliminated in round four by Australian Dean Morrison (Gold Coast).Morrison was forced to settle for an equal fifth placing after losing to Burrow inthe quarter-finals.

As the world ‘ s spotlight turned on Teahupoo for a marathon month of surfing,the reef break turned on the full range of elements from perfect spitting barrelsto heart thumping 6m mountains, to the on-shore rain drenched days of unsurfableslop.

The action commenced late April with the Air Tahiti Nui/Von Zipper Trials stagedin the best conditions of the tournaments five-year history, waves varying fromepic 3 metre slabs to perfect two metre barrels. Tahitian big wave surfing legend Manoa Drollet emerged victorious over aworld-class field of trialists.

Then, in what is now regarded as one of the most momentous surfing sessions ever,Teahupoo pulsed at its powerful best for two solid days with giant 6m wavesoffering ideal tow-in surfing conditions for the world ‘ s top ranked and bestbig wave surfers.

The world’s top 17 female surfers battled testing Teahupoo waves for two days with Australia’s Chelsea Georgeson claiming the Billabong Girls Pro Tahiti title. Then after a rain drenched 2 weeks of waiting for waves, Teahupoo turned on once again, on queue, throwing epic waves at the top Foster ‘s Top 45 men’s surfers for the final four days of the Billabong Pro Tahiti waitingperiod. The job is done!

The Billabong Pro Tahiti was delivered by Air Tahiti Nui is proudly supported byVon Zipper, Bose, Kustom and The Tahitian Surfing Federation.

Billabong Pro Live Webcast: www.billabongpro.com and www.aspworldtour.com eachday of the event utilizing live coverage in English, French and Portuguese, withthe event websites being translated into these three languages plus, Japanese andSpanish. Various camera angles, highlights and replays, weather and scoringinformation, direct viewer interaction, celebrity guests, interviews and more area part of the daily webcast program.From Paul Sargeant