Posted in: Contests, News Stories, Surf News, Top stories.Tags: 2009, asp world championship tour, Billabong Pro Teahupoo, Bobby Martinez, Tahiti, taj burrow.
Bobby Martinez (USA), 26, has claimed the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti, defeating fellow finalist Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, in idyllic conditions in the Final. Photo: ASP/ CI/ ROBERTSON via GETTY IMAGES
TEAHUPOO, Tahiti (Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Wednesday in Australia) – Bobby Martinez (USA), 26, has taken out the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui, defeating fellow Finalist Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, in clean three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at Teahupoo.
Event No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti survived a marathon waiting period, culminating on the second-to-last available day in improving conditions that peaked for a climactic Final.
Martinez surfed a near-flawless heat, opening up with an impressive 8.73 out of a possible 10 before putting his opponent in a combination situation with a Houdini-esque 9.73 out of a possible 10. Netting the highest heat total of the event, an 18.46 out of a possible 20, Martinez claimed his second Billabong Pro Tahiti and fourth elite tour win, establishing himself as one of the premier tube-riders in the world.
“I feel great and a bit emotional,” Martinez said. “I feel wonderful. I waited for the good ones out there and just got lucky. There weren’t too many waves and I was lucky enough to get a couple of good ones and not fall. Things just seemed to work out for me today. I really don’t know what to say. It feels really special.”
The form surfer of the event, Martinez surfed the majority of his heats on borrowed equipment, having broken most of his surfboards early in the waiting period.
“I actually borrowed a board from Alain Riou (local Tahitian surfer),” Martinez said. “He rides Darren Handley shapes and the board was the same dimensions and pretty much the same board I ride. It was great to find that as yesterday, I was a bit skeptical about today in terms of the conditions and my equipment, but everything worked out perfectly.”
Martinez, who is without a major sponsor at the moment, has rocketed himself from 19th to 7th on the ASP World Tour ratings with today’s win, putting him in excellent position for the remainder of the year.
“I’m not thinking about money right now, but rather I’m thinking about the feelings I have,” Martinez said. “I didn’t start surfing to make money. I started for me, and to win today, you cannot put a price on the feelings I have. I’m really going to let it sink it and enjoy it. It’s a great result, but it’s a long year and anything can happen. Joel (Parkinson) has a great lead, and now that this event is over, my focus goes to the next one.”
Burrow’s efforts in the Final were nothing short of spectacular, collecting an 8.17, a 7.93 and a 7.33, but they were not enough to overtake the Martinez stranglehold on the event.
“I definitely had fun but it was tricky against Bobby (Martinez),” Burrow said. “He had a dream heat. The conditions looked pretty good for your forehand because the judges like seeing you pump on your forehand in the barrel. On your backhand, you just have to park it in the pit and you can’t do much, but Bobby did everything he had to out there and deserved the win. I still had a fun Final, but hard to enjoy out there because I was in a combination situation the whole time.”
Burrow now moves into the No. 2 position on the ASP World Tour ratings, setting the Western Australian up well as he eyes up the next events.
“I’ve had two keepers in terms of results and I’m hungry,” Burrow said. “I’m still kicking and I’m looking to win. The next few events, I feel really strong at and I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. I’m stoked to get a result at Teahupoo, I haven’t done well here in a few years so it sets me up really well for the rest of the year.”
Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 23, former ASP World No. 39, was the “Cinderella Story” at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Having failed to advance through a heat in the opening two events of the season, the Basque Country’s first ever ASP World Tour competitor stormed past Californian sensation Dane Reynolds (USA), 23, former event winner Damien Hobgood (USA), 29, Australian veteran Tom Whitaker, 29, and reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, en route to a Semifinals berth.
“I’ve had a tough draw throughout the event, but that’s what has kept me motivated,” Aranburu said. “Coming up against the best guys out there, you need to lift your ability. Beating Kelly (Slater) for me is one of the biggest achievements I’ve ever had. I’ve been looking up to him for so long, and just being on tour with him is an honor. To beat him is a major achievement for me.”
The career-best result was halted at the hands of eventual winner Martinez during one of the most exciting heats of the event. Despite coming up short to Martinez (15.23 to the Californian’s 17.17), Aranburu’s equal 3rd place finish boosts the European to 19th on the ASP World Tour ratings.
“Bobby (Martinez) is one of the best out there,” Aranburu said. “I had one good one, but he got two good ones, and that was it. It’s my best result ever and I am stoked. I have lots of confidence going into the next events. I just want to go home and train and try new boards for Brazil and J-Bay. The biggest thing for me is to know that if I can do it once, I can do it twice.”
Michael Campbell (AUS), 35, opened his final day affair with a close win over fellow ASP Dream Tour veteran Taylor Knox (USA), 38, in the Quarterfinals, but the goofy-footer’s precision forehand approach wasn’t enough to overtake a rampaging Burrow in the Semifinals.
“It felt like I was a bit out of rhythm in the Semifinal,” Campbell said. “I wasn’t able to capitalize on the waves I got and Taj (Burrow) posted a couple of really strong scores mid-heat that left me wanting.”
Although falling short of a Finals berth, the journeyman competitor’s equal 3rd place finish boosts him from 29th to 16th on the ASP World Tour ratings.
“This is going to do a lot for my cause,” Campbell said. “I’ve had average results this year and last year too, so a third is pretty special for me. All of the heats have been hard and sometimes the luck goes your way. I’ve had a bit of luck this time around, but I’ve also spent some time here and I know it pretty well. Stoked to get a result and looking forward to the next one.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, suffered an unfortunate Round 3 loss at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, but after two event wins to open the season up, the Gold Coaster remains the frontrunner on this year’s ASP World Tour ratings.
The next stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour will be the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil from June 27 to July 5, 2009.
Highlights from the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui will be available via www.billabongpro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 18.46
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.86 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 10.00
SF 2: Bobby Martinez (USA) 17.17 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 15.23
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.33 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.06
QF 2: Mick Campbell (AUS) 12.84 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.17
QF 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.93 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67
QF 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.66 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.66
REMAINING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.17 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 10.16
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.57 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.67
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.56 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.16
Heat 8: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.43 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.40
CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10:
1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 3000 points
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 2318 points
3 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 2208 points
4 – C.J. Hobgood (USA) 2196 points
5 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 2174 points
6 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 2076 points
7 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 2025 points
8 – Tom Whitaker (AUS) 1932 points
9 – Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 1886 points
10 – Kieren Perrow (AUS) 1742 points
10 – Taylor Knox (USA) 1742 points
10 – Damien Hobgood (USA) 1742 points
Posted in: Contests, News Stories, Surf News, Top stories.Tags: 2009, Aritz Aranburu, asp world championship tour, Billabong Pro Teahupoo, Kelly Slater, Tahiti.
Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 23, current ASP World No. 39, caused the upset of the event this morning, eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, in Round 2.
TEAHUPOO, Tahiti (Monday, May 18, 2009, Tuesday in Australia) – Following four consecutive lay days, the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui roared back to life this morning, with the world’s best surfers tackling the three-to-four foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves on offer at Teahupoo.
Stop No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti saw perennial favorites C.J. Hobgood (USA), 29, Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, and Michael Campbell (AUS), 35, advance through to the Quarterfinals alongside Taylor Knox (USA), 38, current ASP World No. 14 and longest-serving competitor on the ASP Dream Tour, who eliminated current ASP World No. 1 Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, from competition this afternoon with a staggering 9.03 out of a possible 10 single-wave score in the final heat of the day.
“It was one of those heats where we were jockeying for position in the beginning,” Knox said. “I got a 6 and then it went flat. Joel (Parkinson) was tired of waiting and used his priority on a wave that didn’t offer much. Then that really good one came through and I was in position for it. I really thought there were going to be more waves in that heat and that I’d need more than a 6 in my score line, but that’s the way it worked out. I won my heat so I’m stoked and will go home happy now.”
While this afternoon’s four Round 3 heats laid the groundwork for some intense Quarterfinal match-ups, it was this morning’s completion of Round 2 that provided some of the day’s most dramatic upsets and exciting action.
Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 23, current ASP World No. 39, caused the upset of the event, eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, in Round 2 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. For Aranburu, it would mark his first heat win of the 2009 ASP World Tour season; the young Basque surfer putting up an impressive 17.27 heat total to Slater’s 15.00.
“Kelly (Slater) is the best competitor and the best surfer in the world and I was just trying to stay focused out there so I could get my own waves,” Aranburu said. “Once I got that first score I almost felt more pressure because I was surfing against Kelly and I know what he can do with his priority. I just tried to put the pressure off and luckily I got a second good score and it worked out.”
The win was no easy feat as the pair locked in the highest-scoring heat of the event, but Aranburu’s near-perfect 9.77 out of a possible 10, for an extremely deep backhand barrel in the opening minutes of the bout, assisted the European in his landmark victory.
“I was lucky to get that first wave,” Aranburu said. “I paddled deep because I knew I was going to need a big score against Kelly (Slater) and when I was paddling into it, I thought I was going to fall, but I made it, so I’m happy.”
Aranburu will now face current ASP World No. 9 Damien Hobgood (USA), 29, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti when competition resumes.
For Slater, today’s disappointing result marks his third, consecutive equal 17th place finish in 2009, leaving many to ponder the iconic Floridian’s state of mind in regards to his campaign for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title.
“That may have just given me an excuse for a big, long vacation,” Slater said. “I don’t know yet. It’s really decision time for me. With that many 17ths, you’re really hard-pressed to win an ASP World Title. I’m not here to just make up the numbers, but I don’t want to fall off the map either – I guess I kind of have though. Numbers-wise, I’m still within the possibility of getting in late in the year, but I don’t know. I guess I have a lot on my mind.”
Slater has yet to confirm if he will attend Stop No. 4 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil, from June 27 to July 5, 2009.
While Aranburu’s historic win provided the highlight for the day, Round 2 had plenty of dramatic action to offer.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, former ASP World Champion (2007) and current ASP World No. 2, pulled out a buzzer-beating heat win during his Round 2 bout with compatriot Ben Dunn (AUS), 23. Requiring an above-average score with time running out, Fanning got to his feet just prior to the heat-ending horn and proceeded to pig-dog his way to an excellent 9.17 out of a possible 10 to secure an exciting, come-from-behind victory.
“It’s pretty hard out there,” Fanning said. “We were fighting for 3’s until the end. I tried to get a few little ones at the beginning and tried to find the barrel – there just weren’t many out there. I was just praying one would come up, and one did and you just have to surf and hold on. I heard the ‘five’ on the countdown paddling in and I just hung on and got through.”
Fanning will face fellow Australian Tom Whitaker, 29, in Round 3 when the Billabong Pro Tahiti recommences.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 21, current ASP World No. 3, suffered an injury during the morning’s warm-up session when he landed on his hindquarters on the reef, but that didn’t stop the prodigious South African from posting the day’s second highest heat total (a 16.33 out of a possible 20) en route to his Round 2 victory over Heitor Alves (BRA), 27.
“I took a fall earlier while warming up and luckily it wasn’t anything serious,” Smith said. “It wasn’t affecting me in my heat luckily, but I saw that Heitor (Alves) got off to a good start and I didn’t watch it too much before I went out. I didn’t think there were many barrels out there, but I was able to find one. It’s tough out there. It’s not an epic day, but there are good waves and Luke (Egan) is doing a great job with the calls.”
Andy Irons (HAW), 30, former three-time ASP World Champion and past winner of the Billabong Pro Tahiti (2002), is currently on sabbatical from full-time competition, but accepted a wildcard to compete in the Billabong Pro Tahiti. The Hawaiian continued his sensational roll through Round 2 today, displaying his characteristic, preternatural backhand tube sense en route to victory.
“Competing again is a bit like riding a bike, but it’s a little scary,” Irons said. “I’m a little rusty, putting the jersey back on and getting a feel for things. If we had waves like this anywhere else, I’d be stoked, but when you think of Teahupoo, you think of eight-to-10-foot barrels. So it’s different, but there are still fun waves.”
Irons caused a major upset today in the elimination of 2008 ASP World Runner-Up Bede Durbidge (AUS), 26, from Billabong Pro Tahiti competition during Round 2.
“Bede (Durbidge) is a tough draw,” Irons said. “He’s fit and strong and last year’s World No. 2 and he’s no slouch. He’s a cool guy and I have a lot of respect for him. He is having a bit of a bad run at the moment, but I’m sure he’ll turn that around. It’s unfortunate that there was a bit of a lull during that heat, but I was able to get a couple of waves and I’m stoked to get through. Thanks to Billabong for letting me surf in the event.”
Irons will tackle an in-form Bobby Martinez (USA), 26, in Round 3 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti in the opening heat of the day when action resumes.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, are calling for the current short-period SW swell to maintain throughout tomorrow before being replaced by a long-period SW in the coming days.
Event organizers will reconvene at 6:30am tomorrow morning to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
Highlights from today’s Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui will be available at www.billabongpro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
REMAINING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 11.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.63
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.26 def. 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
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 3 RESULTS:
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
Heat 4: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.46 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5.57
REMAINING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 5: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
UPCOMING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS)
QF 2: Mick Campbell (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
QF 3: TBA
QF 4: TBA