KELLY Slater fresh off a career break takes out the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the world number one slot and sets-up Ke11y. New York looks set for a blast of hurricane swell and a win there will surely see him pick up his competitive uges and run with them to Hawaii.
"I felt like I finally hit my stride in the Semifinals this morning," Slater said. "In the Final, I fell on a couple of waves that were maybe better than what I ended up getting scored on. It put the pressure on me, and took the pressure off him (Wright). He got that really big one at the end that could have gotten pretty close to the score. These are the best conditions this event has ever run in. It's been a phenomenal week."
"It's one of those weird events where you have to scramble through the early rounds," Slater said. "Every year at this event, there are few of the top guys that lose in the early rounds and you have to scramble if you want a result here. You have to be in tune with the tides, swell direction and everything to make sure you get those waves that get you the score."
This was one of those once in a competitive lifetime events where a ten day holding period happened to chance into a swell as powerful as there's ever been in our 15 years of records. Whatever your devil was, this comp had a bit of it. Running the gamut from freesurf to perfect barrels, throaty monsters and back to perfect paddle cylinders.
A two-for-one offer that kept 1000s frothing over their computer screens whilst a lucky few sat in the channel watching a dwindling group of surfers push themselves over the edge.
"I thought it was an incredible Final," Wright said. "We both got really good waves and I felt like I did what I needed to on them. Kelly (Slater) just happened to find ones that opened up a little better. Congrats to him, and hoping I can get him in the next one."
Travis Logie and Josh Kerr both rounded out the semis, which for Travis, bounced into the event at the last minute was a bit of shocker on borrowed sleds.
"It's been an unbelievable week for me," Logie said. "I don't think it has all sunk in yet. I was in Europe, I barely made it here in time, I've been on borrowed equipment, I've been banged up on the reef, I had a re-surf with my good mate Jordy (Smith) and I've also scored the best result of my career. It's all happened very fast. So yeah, I'm happy with how everything's worked out, but would have liked to have made that Final."
Josh Kerr, one of the standouts in both the freesurfs and the event, was not be able to overtake Slater in an inconsistent semifinal.
"It was pretty frustrating out there," Kerr said. "We had a little exchange in the beginning and there just weren't any more opportunities through the heat. I thought we'd have a bit more action with the tide push, but it was the opposite. I'm pretty disappointed. It's a good result for me of course, just thought I could go a little better."
Jeremy Flores sneaking through another 10 point ride against Michel Bourez, right on the hooter. Flores was awarded the Andy Irons Award for most committed performance of the event. This is the inaugural year for the award, honoring the late ASP and Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion Andy Irons.
"Andy (Irons) meant everything to me," Flores said. "He has been the guy I've looked up to my whole life. In heavy waves, in all waves, he was the best and to earn this award is so special for me. He inspired everyone on tour and he's been my inspiration in Tahiti. I know he was smiling on this event. Thank you Andy."