British Nationals Day 1 Gallery…

British Nationals Day 1 Gallery…

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The British Nationals have been going off at Perranporth today. Nice to not be Fistral yet again, an echo of the time when the nationals moved around every year, so here’s hoping they continue to be mobile and go back to Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East (the Tynemouth nationals were always epic). Just an idea. That said it will mean all the national governing bodies working together ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here’s a selection of shots of Harry de Roth, Tom Butler, Miles Lee Hargraves, Reubyn Ash, Jayce Robinson, Matt Chapman, Oli Adams and Alan Stokes.
Click on any image to launch the gallery carousel. New site innit 🙂 right fancy.

A Sequence Of Note…

A Sequence Of Note…

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This is Deivid Silva. He’s just won the Quiksilver Pro Casablanca with a 9.13 and a 9.33 which he surfed back to back. This is from the 9.33 and I’m sure you’ll agree is the kind of turn that doesn’t come along that often. The brutality of it was something to be seen, indeed it’s still raining in Casablanca because of it. Dave pipped Nelson Cloarec in the final (pictured below getting selfied to death by the frothing crowd) and looks like a good bet for the big league tour next season. With man hacks like this I think he’ll fit right in!
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Maroc Blog: Day 3

Maroc Blog: Day 3

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Another day in Morocco. Another relaxed call for the Quiksilver/Roxy Pro Casablanca comp at 9:30. Another epic breakfast of omelette pancake slash crumpet things and strong as hell coffee.
Today the Brit crew got to surf again (I missed Lucy Campbell and Peony Knight going through their round one heats as was sat in Heathrow when that was happening) and it was a game of two halves.
During the heat before our slice of Casablanca beachy was looking fun as hell, the higher tide had shifted things on to a super fun, running left which was smashable as hell. Of course come the Brit girls heat things went weird and wobbly and backy offy.
Short version: after a slow start Peony got two long belters and won the heat. Lucy picked some likely looking lumps of Atlantic that then proceeded to shrug and do the backing off thing and ended up getting knocked out. Such is the way of contests.
Plus side is Peony is now in to the woman v woman quarters tomorrom where she’ll take on Kiwi Ella Williams. Which is cool.
Justine Dupont and Pauline Ado are still in the mix and looking lethal. Whoever finishes in front takes the European QS title so it’s game on…
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Anfaplace Shopping Center, Casablanca – Morocco (Friday, September 16, 2016) – The Quiksilver Pro Casablanca and Roxy Pro Casablanca continued to give local surfers and crowds a great show as competition resumed in clean two-to-three foot surf at Anfaplace Shopping Center.

Ian Gouveia (BRA), 23, steamrolled through the competition, launching the day’s proceedings with an impeccable performance to move into Round Four.

Keoni Yan (HAW), 21, had a good battle with local star Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), 23, and narrowly defeated the Moroccan, both surfers making their way into the second-to-last day of  competition in Casablanca.

“I was lucky to get those good little waves, they stood up for me and I had fun in that heat,” he said. “All our crew is staying here with Jerome Sahyoun, he’s a local legend and has been very welcoming and giving us a few tips so I’m really thankful. I love it here in Morocco, everything’s so different.”

Boukhiam had previously clinched the single best score of the heat but had a hard time backing it up and was in a dangerous position up until the final moments of the heat. His opponents’ efforts proved insufficient as well, keeping the local favorite’s campaign alive on home soil.

“I found it really tough out there, I think we were at that in-between moment of the tide and it didn’t make things easy for us,” he reflected. “But I’m happy I managed to hang on to second place and the most important is to get through. This morning was quiet as we started early but I’m looking forward to surfing on the weekend, it should be epic!”

In a tense Round Three bout, event number one seed Deivid Silva (BRA), 21, was extremely picky when it came to wave selection and was sitting in last position when he finally started on his third wave with only seconds on the clock. The Brazilian locked in several good carves and exploited the little left all the way into the beach for a 7.87 buzzer-beater to take the win.

“It was absolutely crazy to wait for the last twenty seconds to catch that last wave,” he admitted. “That wave was super nice and I’m stoked to get that win. I’m super happy to be visiting Morocco for the first time.”

Heat 5 was the most decisive matchup in terms of the 2016 regional title race as Jorgann Couzinet (REU), 22, and reigning European Champion Pedro Henrique (PRT), 34, took it the water to try and keep their title hopes alive. Couzinet continued his winning streak as Henrique’s race was put to rest in Casablanca.

With Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), 21, unable to advance past the third round of competition here, the African regional rankings are now final with Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), 23, and Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF), 25, taking home the 2016 WSL African Champion Titles.

The women’s quarterfinalists were decided as well today, with Pauline Ado (FRA), 25, leading the show in the opening Round Two matchup. Ado, by advancing into the quarters, has now tied with compatriot Justine Dupont (FRA), 25, in the European title race, meaning either surfer that finishes ahead of the other in this event will claim the coveted regional crown.

“Justine and I both want to win, here in this event and the European title, and our main goal is to re-qualify as well, so I’ll just take it one heat at a time and see what happens,” she explained. “Each heat is going to be tougher and tougher now cause we’re getting into the man-on-man heats with all the girls that have been ripping this week. It looks like we’re getting more swell on the weekend so I look forward to the final stretch in good conditions.”

Dupont went on to confirm her excellent form and advanced into the quarters, keeping all the title possibilities pending until the event resumes Saturday.

Ainara Aymat (EUK), 19, had the tough task to surf the day’s final heat at a tricky high tide and managed to find an excellent little runner of a left-hander to lock in multiple turns for the heat’s highest single ride of 6.83 and her ticket to the quarters.

“I was really nervous to surf these conditions so I’m super happy to win,” she said. “Outside, the rip takes you off the peak but as you start to come in closer to the shore the wave gets really fun. I haven’t made past the quarters yet so I’m going to try to relax and hopefully make one more!”

Event officials will once again reconvene at 9:30AM Saturday to assess conditions and plan the last couple of days at the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca.

MagicSeaWeed, official forecaster for the WSL Europe Qualifying Series events, calls for “Saturday offers a good chance of offshore conditions, particularly in the morning, although the overnight wind and slightly lower swell period will mean a mix of waves the better sets should be pushing head high and building in the afternoon as a new swell starts to fill in under the more local swell.” for Saturday.

The Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca are scheduled from September 13-18, 2016 at ANFAPLACE Shopping Center, Casablanca – Morocco. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.

The Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca are supported by Anfaplace Shopping Center, Quiksilver and Roxy, the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Surf, the Office National Marocain du Tourisme, the Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports, Red Bull and MagicSeaweed among others.

UPCOMING QUIKSILVER PRO CASABLANCA ROUND 4 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA), Thiago Guimaraes (BRA), Keoni Yan (PYF), Rafael Teixeira (BRA)
Heat 2: Lucas Silveira (BRA), Caetano Vargas (BRA), Deivid Silva (BRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Heat 3: Jorgann Couzinet (REU), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Nelson Cloarec (FRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 4: Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Bino Lopes (BRA), Miguel Tudela (PER), Ian Costa (BRA)

UPCOMING ROXY PRO CASABLANCA QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS:
QF 1: Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Freya Prumm (AUS)
QF 2: Ella Williams (NZL) vs. Peony Knight (GBR)
QF 3: Justine Dupont (FRA) vs. Carol Henrique (PRT)
QF 4: Melanie Giunta (PER) vs. Ainara Aymat (EUK)

QUIKSILVER PRO CASABLANCA ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.60, Caetano Vargas (BRA) 13.36, Victor Bernardo (BRA) 11.13, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 8.43
Heat 2: Keoni Yan (PYF) 12.73, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.07, Samuel Igo De Souza (BRA) 11.20, Imanol Yeregi (EUK) 8.60
Heat 3: Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.93, Thiago Guimaraes (BRA) 12.77, Lliam Mortensen (AUS) 11.97, Frederico Magalhaes (PRT) 7.53
Heat 4: Deivid Silva (BRA) 15.37, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 14.27, Miguel Blanco (PRT) 14.06, Jackson Baker (AUS) 13.93
Heat 5: Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 16.60, Bino Lopes (BRA) 15.84, Marco Giorgi (URY) 11.03, Pedro Henrique (PRT) 8.76
Heat 6: Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 12.20, Ian Costa (BRA) 10.90, Raphael Seixas (BRA) 8.90, Vehiatua Prunier (PYF) 7.17
Heat 7: Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 12.37, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 12.30, Julen Egiguren (EUK) 11.47, Halley Batista (BRA) 7.60
Heat 8: Miguel Tudela (PER) 13.90, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.64, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 8.80, Jackson Giles (AUS) 8.67

Hurley & Swatch Pros reach the sharp end…

Hurley & Swatch Pros reach the sharp end…

Nikki Van Dijk winning Quarter Final Heat 3 at the Swatch Women's Pro Trestles.

The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles, Stops No. 8 and 7 respectively on the World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), continued today with the men’s and women’s Semifinalists decided in three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at Lower Trestles. The stage is set for an exciting final day of competition with the field narrowed to just four men and four women.
Filipe Toledo surfing during Heat 2 of The Quarterfinals at The Hurley Pro Trestles
Filipe Toledo (BRA) and 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) put on a show for the crowd at Lowers with an exciting head-to-head battle. Slater gained control of the heat with a strong 7.33, but Toledo took to the air to earn a near-perfect 9.17. Slater fought back with an excellent 8.27 to maintain his lead, but the Brazilian exhibited his strong rail-game and signature air reverse to earn another excellent 9.20 to not only take the lead, but also put Slater in a combination situation. Toledo will advance to the Semifinals, while Slater leaves his 16th CT Trestles event in 5th place.

“Since I was born, since I’ve known surfing, there’s been Kelly [Slater] and he’s the most incredible surfer in this world, so it’s always good to beat him and surf against him,” said Toledo. “I had to go big because he’s in a good rhythm right now. He won Tahiti and he’s been surfing amazing here. It’s such a blessing to surf against Kelly and beat him. The waves are fun, my boards are looking good so let’s hope I can get a bigger wave in the Semifinals and Finals — definitely go for the 10 or high 9, we will see.”

“I blew it with wave choice and Filipe [Toledo] capitalized and made the right choice,” Slater said. “You really can’t give an inch out here, especially when it’s small like this. When it’s small, he’s way faster than everybody, and he’s the most dangerous guy. I had the chance, I had him on the ropes with the advantage halfway through and then I took the first wave of the set and he ended up getting that 9.20. I heard the crowd and was thinking I didn’t really do anything and realized he was on the wave behind me, but that’s just the way it goes.”

Before his Quarterfinal loss, Slater took down hometown hero Kolohe Andino (USA) in a nail-biting Round 5 Heat 2 match-up. Andino opened up with a an excellent 8.00, using his backhand attack that had Slater needing a high score right out of the gates. Slater fired right back with an incredible 8.60 on his forehand and went right back to work, earning a 4.17, though needing a 4.57. Andino then found another Lowers lefthand gem, where he got hung up by a big reverse, but still managed to finish the wave for a 5.33. The local favorite was not able to close the 0.36-point gap and was ultimately eliminated from the event.
Jordy Smith surfing during Heat 1 of The Quarterfinals at The Hurely Pro Trestles
Jordy Smith (ZAF) ended event wildcard Brett Simpson’s (USA) incredible run at the Hurley Pro with a 14.87 combined heat score by unleashing a series of progressive maneuvers in the first Quarterfinal heat. The local favorite fought back with two mid-range scores, but needed a near-perfect 9.37 for a comeback. Simpson struggled to find the required score and halted his wildcard run with a 5th place finish.

“Brett [Simpson] is an incredible surfer and he’s got nothing to lose,” Smith said. “I think he’s got a lot of confidence. He’s taken out some big dogs along the way and he’s just been in rhythm. I was feeling pretty nervous throughout the whole day, but I just kept focusing on what I had going. Each heat I make obviously narrows that gap, but the Top 3 guys have a huge lead and I just want to get as many good results as I can. Both Filipe [Toledo] and Kelly [Slater] are leaders in our sport in their own way so I think it’ll be a great match-up for me and an opportunity to give my best surfing.”

En route to Simpson’s Quarterfinal berth, the opening heat of Round 5 witnessed a close exchange between Simpson and Michel Bourez (PYF). Simpson captured an early lead with a 7.00, but was followed by Bourez’s 7.83. Simpson fired back with a massive blow-tail layback to earn an excellent 8.00 and leave Bourez needing a big backup score that he was not able to secure.
Tanner Guduaskas surfing during Heat 3 of The Quarterfinals at The Hurley Pro Trestles
Event wildcard Tanner Gudauskas (USA) charged through the third Quarterfinal match-up to take the win against Stuart Kennedy (AUS). Gudauskas wreaked havoc once more on the Lowers’ righthanders with his incredible backhand flair. The hometown hero will face 2012 WSL Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) in the Semifinals.

“This moment feels amazing and I’m just trying to absorb everything from it,” Gudauskas said. “For this week though I just feel like every heat I surf is my only opportunity that I’ll get. I’ll be back to the QS after this and will really earn it to get back on Tour. Falling off Tour when I did, and the way I did, sent me on a journey and I feel like it’s taken me awhile to get my steam back. It feels so good to feel vindicated and just get it off my shoulders and feel like I deserve to be here.”
Joel Parkinson during the quarterfinals.
Parkinson advanced to the Semifinals today after taking out 2016 WSL Rookie Alex Ribeiro (BRA), the last rookie left in the draw. Ribeiro got an early lead with a 7.50, but Parkinson found his rhythm with an excellent 8.27 and a 6.50. Ribeiro attempted to land a handful of highly-technical moves, but fell 2.37 points short of the win.
Tyler Wright winning Quarter Final Heat 2 at the Swatch Women's Pro Trestles.
Current Jeep Rankings Leader Tyler Wright (AUS) will continue her hunt to keep the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey after eliminating compatriot Laura Enever (AUS) and advancing to the Semifinals. Wright unleashed big power carves to earn a 13.50 combined heat score and put Enever in a devastating situation, needing a 9.00 in the final minutes with limited opportunities on offer.

“I’ve been in a few title races before, and looking back I’ve never felt this comfortable or this confident,” Wright said. “It’s definitely different for me this year and I’m just going with it. I’m not setting out a certain way that I should feel about things, this is just the way I’m feeling and I’m going out to do my job — and that’s to win every heat and every final. It’s been that from the start of the year and it’ll be that to the end.”

Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) battled Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning three-time WSL Champion and defending event winner, in the second Women’s Quarterfinal match-up of the day. The heat witnessed Gilmore fire with two back-to-back 8-point rides, putting Moore in a combination situation. With time running out, Moore was unable to break Gilmore’s massive 16.10 total. This heat marked the twenty-seventh match-up between the two World Champions, with Gilmore taking her thirteenth win over Moore.

“I was actually really nervous going into that because I haven’t gotten past the Quarterfinals in a while and I haven’t won an event in a while,” said Gilmore. “I just tried to go out there and do what I know how to do. I think Carissa [Moore] and I have had the strongest rivalry between us more than any other girls on Tour and it always feels really good to beat her. I’m just excited to get past that Quarterfinal monkey on my back. Obviously to see Courtney [Conlogue] go out was good for Tyler [Wright], but we’re all here for one thing, and I want to win.”

Caption: Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) blazed through Round 4 and the Quarterfinals to defeat current World No. 2 Courtney Conlogue (USA) and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), respectively. Gilmore will advance to the Semifinals where she will face Nikki Van Dijk (AUS).
Image: © WSL / Rowland

Moore will leave this event with an Equal 5th place finish and 5,200 points.

“I know any time you come up against Stephanie [Gilmore] you have to bring something special,” said Moore. “I was really excited to get going and I think I just made some bad wave choices, and got in a bad rhythm. There just wasn’t much so I just wish I had more opportunity to really open up but I’m okay, Steph’s surfing really great and I hope she wins this event. I’m looking forward to Portugal and France. Who knows what’s going to happen. I think it’ll be pretty tough to come back from this loss, but I’m just stoked to try and finish off the year strong.”
Stephanie Gilmore surfing during Heat 4 of The Quarterfinals at The Swatch Pro Trestles
Gilmore previously dispatched current World No. 2 Courtney Conlogue (USA) in an all-star Round 4 match-up. Conlogue opened her account with a strong 6.67 and a 6.23, putting Gilmore in an early combination. But, Gilmore fought back with a solid 7.43. Halfway through the heat, Conlogue used her priority on a set out the back to earn a 5.73, but it was not enough to improve her situation. Just needing a 5.47, the Australian took advantage of a clean wave to lock in a critical 7.23 and gain control of the heat. With four minutes left on the clock, Conlogue attempted to battle back to obtain the required 7.99, but was not able to find the score. Conlogue will walk away from the Swatch Women’s Pro with a 9th place finish, her worst result this season.

“Coming up against Stephanie [Gilmore], she’s won this event a few times and is the six-time World Champ, there’s definitely a lot of expectation to surf on point,” said Conlogue. “But, it felt like I gave it my all out there and felt like that left was really good, and my right as well. Things didn’t go my way that time and some things are out of your control.This definitely wasn’t my event and it’s frustrating, but I just have to get ready for Portugal now and the rest of the year.”
Sage Erickson winning Quarter Final Heat 1 at the Swatch Women's Pro Trestles.
California-native Sage Erickson (USA) was the first surfer to earn her place in the Semifinals after defeating Johanne Defay (FRA) in the opening Quarterfinal heat of the day. Defay will walk away with an Equal 5th place, her fifth Top 5 result this season. Erickson will advance to the next round, where she will surf against Wright.

“It was a tit-for-tat heat with Johanne [Defay] and I’m so excited to be out of the Quarters and into the Semis,” Erickson said. “I think winning definitely feels good. You can lose a lot in this sport. Winning over in Spain, where it was a highly rated contest and there were a lot of tour girls over there, gives me a little bit of confidence, but this tour is a whole other ballpark. You really have to surf well to get scores and I think that’s why the women nowadays are surfing so well and pushing together because you kind of have to. I’m just trying to find my feet and it feels great to make it into another Semifinal.”

Earlier this morning, Erickson dispatched current World No. 4 Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in Round 4 Heat 1. The Californian played the patient game to wait for the sets and earned two 6-point rides to defeat the Hawaiian.

Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) will also join the top women’s field in her first CT Semifinal appearance after her dominating performance over Malia Manuel (HAW) with an impressive 16.16. Van Dijk will battle compatriot Gilmore in the second Semifinal match-up.

“It’s taken me about three years and I’m stoked,” Van Dijk said. “I can’t believe I made the Semis and I’m happy to just be surfing more fun waves out there. It got kind of slow at the end and I knew Malia [Manuel] could get any type of score on any kind of wave so I was really nervous. I’ve really only gotten one Quarter and the rest of my results are throwaways so I’m really needing this and really want to make my first FInal. I’m not looking to stop here and just want to surf better and better each heat.”

Round 4 Heat 3 saw 2016 WSL Rookie Keely Andrew (AUS) unable to hold on against Manuel. Andrew will be eliminated from the event in Equal 9th place.

Highlights from the Swatch Women’s Pro and Hurley Pro available at WorldSurfLeague.com

 

Swatch Women’s Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: 
Sage Erickson (USA) 12.57 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 8.97
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 15.70 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.03
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.34 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 9.00
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.66 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.90

Swatch Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: 
Sage Erickson (USA) 13.90 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.93
QF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.50 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 7.13
QF 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 16.16 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.60
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.10 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.33

Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: 
Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
SF 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: 
Brett Simpson (USA) 15.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.46
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.43 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.07
Heat 3: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 15.67 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.64
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.77 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.84

Men’s Hurley Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: 
Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.87 def.. Brett Simpson (USA) 10.43
QF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.37 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 15.60
QF 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.13 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.17
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.77 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.40

Men’s Hurley Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1:
 Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
SF 2: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)

Kelly Slater Wins Tahiti Drops a 20 On The Way

Kelly Slater Wins Tahiti Drops a 20 On The Way

Kelly Slater (USA) has won the Billabong Pro Tahiti after defeating John John Florence (HAW) in the Final in eight-to-ten foot surf at Teahupo’o. The final day of competition at Stop No. 7 of 11 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) has been treated to incredible performances by the world’s best surfers, culminating with Slater’s win. The Final day saw 35 barrels ridden between the two finalists.
11-time WSL Champion Slater claimed the 55th CT victory of his career to jump 11 places on the Jeep Leaderboard to 8th. The win today is Slater’s fifth in Tahiti, with previous event titles in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2011 and solidifies his position as the best surfer at Teahupo’o.

Kelly Slater of the USA (pictured) celebrates winning the Billabong Pro Tahiti for the fifth time in his career and earns the A.I. Award on Tuesday August 23, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Cestari SOCIAL: @kc80  This image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“When I look back that will for sure be one of the best wins I have ever had,” said Slater. “To have John John [Florence] in the Final is a dream for me. It is no secret that I am towards the tail-end of my career. John John and Gabriel [Medina] are on their way up and those guys are just monsters. John John is all of our favorite surfers, so I want to see how many heats I can get with him before I am done and to have him out here where he and Gabriel are the favorites. This is a really special time for me. I am stoked.”

Today’s win is Slater’s best result of the season and backs up a Semifinal berth in Fiji and a Quarterfinal finish in Jeffreys Bay. It also marks a return to form and his first CT event win since the Billabong Pipe Masters in 2013.

“It just came together for me,” continued Slater. “I was on the right waves, I was in sync and totally relaxed the whole time. To be in that Final with John John and lose would have been no problem for me. I was taking each heat as a bonus. I have had such a bad run for me historically over the last couple of years that anything was going to be good.”

Kelly Slater of the USA (pictured) winning  the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Tuesday August 23, 2016.  PHOTO: @wsl/ Cestari SOCIAL: @wsl @kc80 This image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Final saw a stacked match-up between the two CT superstars. Florence was quick to get points on the board with an 8.00 on his opening ride, but Slater fired with a near-perfect 9.77. Slater landed a miraculous free-fall drop followed by escaping a deep barrel to garner a stunning 9.17. Florence, with a 15.23, was put in a combination situation and needed two new scores with ten minutes left on the clock. Slater continued to better his score with a phenomenal 9.90 for a near-perfect 19.67 combined total to claim his victory.

En route to the Final Slater posted a Perfect 20 heat total in his Round 5 match-up with Keanu Asing (HAW). This is only the ninth time a perfect heat has been achieved in 40 years of professional surfing and the third time Slater has accomplished this feat. Despite a strong opening from Asing, the Slater juggernaut picked up momentum throughout the back half of the heat, posting a Perfect 10, an excellent 8.10 and then another Perfect 10 to seal the win and etch another achievement in the history books.

“The first 10 of that heat was a more difficult ride definitely, but the second one was a bigger, more perfect, classic tube,” said Slater after winning Round 5. “I just thought that the first one was a lot more difficult, so I was not sure if they would throw a 10 on the second one. I have been feeling good all week. A perfect heat is not going to happen many times in your life so I am stoked.”

Slater previously dispatched event Wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA) in the Quarterfinals with another Perfect 10 and a commanding 9.27 back-up score to take the win.

Slater also received the Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award, which is given out every year to the standout surfer of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Previous winners include C.J. Hobgood (2015), Owen Wright (2014), John John Florence (2013), Ricardo dos Santos (2012) and Jeremy Flores (2011).

“I’m so stoked, I’ve worked for this thing for years,” said Slater. “Andy [Irons] would be equally mad and stoked that I won this. Last time I surfed against Andy, it was here at Teahupo’o and he won the event. It was his last win, and I lost to him in the Semifinals. It was a really special heat for me and this is a really special award. This is rad and I can’t wait to put the award in my house. I feel like I’ve won the contest already.”

John John Florence of HAwaii (pictured) winning his quarterfinal heat at the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Tuesday August 23, 2016.  PHOTO: @wsl/ Cestari SOCIAL: @wsl  @kc80 This image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The runner-up finish for Florence is his best ever result at Teahupo’o and sees the 23-year-old claim the Jeep Leader Jersey heading into the next event on the CT at Lower Trestles. Florence previously defeated Joel Parkinson (AUS) in Round 5, Julian Wilson (AUS) in the Quarterfinals and Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Semifinals.

“I am super stoked to be the leader on the Jeep Rankings,” Florence said. “But at this point, it is only a yellow jersey and what counts is at the end of the year and there is still a lot to go this year. I am going to keep chipping away at it.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA), 2014 event winner, takes home a third-place finish following an incredible match-up against Florence in the second Semifinal. The sensational superheat saw the pair battle for a place in the Final and the chance to claim the Jeep Leader Jersey. The surfers traded impressive scores throughout the heat, posting seven excellent barrels above 9.00 between them during the bout. The Hawaiian held a slight lead with a near-perfect 18.44 to Medina’s 17.46, but with ten minutes left on the clock, Medina challenged Florence by coming out of a monstrous barrel to earn a Perfect 10 (the fifth of the day) and gain control of the heat. Under pressure and with four minutes remaining, Florence needed a 9.31. In a dramatic exchange, Florence used his priority to land a critical 9.93 to regain the lead and followed it up with a 9.73 to seal the win.

“It was a really fun heat,” said Medina. “John [Florence] is always hard to beat anywhere. We both had really good waves. It was his day today. I look forward to Trestles.”

Medina previously dispatched Jadson Andre (BRA) in Round 5 and Josh Kerr (AUS) in the Quarterfinals before facing Florence. Following today’s result Medina will remain in third place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the next event on the CT at Lower Trestles.

Adrian Buchan (AUS) finished the event in third place, matching his best result of the season, after being defeated by eventual winner Slater in the Semifinals. The bout was a rematch of the 2013 Final between the two former event winners, however this time it was the 11-time World Champion that took the win. Slater found a near-perfect 9.63 and a 6.67 to take the lead from Buchan on his opening exchange, while Buchan trailed close behind with an 8.17. Buchan, needing an 8.14, made numerous attempts to escape deep barrel rides, but was unsuccessful on his attempts. Slater increased his lead with an 8.77 to put Buchan in a combination in the last thirty seconds.

Today’s result sees Buchan move up from 11th to 4th place on the Jeep Leaderboard. Buchan previously dispatched Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Kolohe Andino (USA) from the event in Round 5 and the Quarterfinals, respectively.

Julian Wilson (AUS) was defeated by eventual runner-up Florence in Quarterfinal 4 by only 0.74 points in a close head-to-head battle. Florence fired early with excellent rides, but Wilson kept selective. A wipeout on the razor-sharp reef rattled the Australian, but he fired back by coming out of a deep tube to earn a Perfect 10. Despite Wilson’s strong score, Florence was quick to answer back with the dominant combined score for the win. Wilson moves up to 5th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I had the two waves to win that heat for sure,” said Wilson. “The first one I waited for but I got caught out of position and got absolutely walloped and split my chin and took some skin off. It rattled me a bit and I had to reset and gave myself another chance. That 10 was super fun, I knew I had to make the most of that wave. I got the lead for a minute but John John got that wave right behind.”

The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles, which will see the battle for this season’s World Title heat up as with the world’s best surfers take on Lowers from September 7 -18, 2016.
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.67
2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.23

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.10
SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 19.66 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.23

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 17.43
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.90 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.40
QF 4: John John Florence (HAW) 17.34 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.60
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20.00 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.70
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.33
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 18.30 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.90

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 39,900 pts
2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,000 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,700 pts
4. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 26,200 pts
5. Julian Wilson (AUS) 25,200 pts

World Title Race Heats Up In Tahiti…

World Title Race Heats Up In Tahiti…

The Billabong Pro Tahiti, Stop No. 7 of 11 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), continued today in three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) surf at Teahupo’o. The day saw top scores and exciting match-ups as the world’s best surfers battled through Rounds 3 and 4 to avoid elimination and earn a direct advance to the Quarterfinals.

Event wildcard and 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti winner, Bruno Santos (BRA), lit up the competition today with electric performances in both rounds. The Brazilian, who gained entry into the event after winning the Trials, looked unstoppable today as he not only knocked out the top ranked surfer on the CT in Round 3, but also posted highest heat score of the day, a near-perfect 18.30 in Round 4, to defeat two former event winners.

Santos began by causing a huge upset in Round 3 Heat 6 by defeating Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jeep Ratings’ Leader. With limited opportunities during the heat, Santos got busy on the inside to earn a 12.33 combined heat score to take the lead. With only five minutes left in the heat, Wilkinson had yet to put points on the board. A set out the back gave Wilkinson an opportunity to challenge Santos, but the Australian failed to make it out of the barrel.

“I was watching the last heat and the end of that heat was really good, so in the beginning of my heat I was trying to get the first good wave,” said Santos. “Wilko [Matt Wilkinson] and I fought for the priority, but when the sets came I was too deep. I started to get the small ones and just made my scores enough to put me in the lead. I am feeling really good. It is hard to surf against Wilko who is doing really well this year. I feel stronger that I beat the big guys. I just want to keep going, step-by-step.”

at the Billabong Pro in Tahiti on Tuesday August 23, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Cestari SOCIAL: @wsl @kc80 This image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wilkinson is eliminated in equal 13th place and will relinquish his first place position on the Jeep Leaderboard to John John Florence (HAW) if the Hawaiian is able to make the Quarterfinals in Tahiti.

“I started just as I wanted to,” Wilkinson said. “But, on that first set, we were both too deep for it. Obviously, I would have loved to have been on it in the perfect spot, but I made sure he did not have an easy line into it. The heat just slowly ran away from me. I was happy letting him get those 5’s and that 6 because I decided that I wasn’t settling for anything but an 8 or above. I am disappointed, but good luck to Bruno [Santos] in the rest of the event. There is so much of the year left and I am going to focus on getting big results. Hopefully I can get on another little roll and win a few. For Lowers, I am going to work on high performance surfing and being as consistent as I can.”

Kelly Slater of the USA (pictured)  posting a PERFECT TEN during Round Four at the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Monday August 22, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Cestari SOCIAL: @kc80 @wslThis image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Santos advanced on to Round 4 Heat 2, which saw a stacked match-up of former event winners — 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Adrian Buchan (AUS). Four-time event winner Slater showcased why he is the most decorated surfer on the CT as he miraculously came out of a cavernous barrel to earn the event’s first perfect 10.00. Santos challenged the veteran with two near-perfect 9-point rides to take 0.13-point lead over Slater and the win. Santos will advance to the Quarterfinals, while Slater and Buchan will battle again in elimination Round 5.

“I am super stoked to win that heat,” said Santos. “There were three event champions in that heat. Ace [Adrian Buchan] is so good here and Kelly [Slater] is the man. It actually was a dream for me to beat Kelly. I’ve surfed against him maybe four or five times, but as a kid I always dreamed of beating Kelly somewhere, but here it is special. It was a crazy heat with Kelly’s perfect 10. I am super stoked to be in the Quarterfinals and beat two of my favorite surfers here.”

Kolohe Andino of USA (pictured)  winning his heat during Round Four at the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Monday August 22, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Cestari SOCIAL: @kc80 @wslThis image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Kolohe Andino (USA)Josh Kerr (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS) also earned a direct advance to the Quarterfinals following Round 4 wins.

Andino took on Keanu Asing (HAW) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) in Round 4 Heat 1. Smith held the lead for the majority of the heat, but Andino scored with an excellent 9.53 in the last two minutes. Andino’s patience paid off as he edged a narrow victory and his place in the Quarterfinals.

“That heat was scrappy – I was waiting and waiting and finally I got a couple of waves,” said Andino. “I knew that a good wave was going to come and then it did, so I tried my best and held. I was really amped up when I made it because it means I go straight to the Quarters, which is a result for me. This is the first event my dad has been to all year and I’m stoked he’s here. I’m having a really fun time here this year but I know the Quarters will be tough.”

Kerr earned his first Quarterfinal berth of the 2016 season after defeating CT superstar Florence and Jadson Andre (BRA) in Round 4 Heat 3. Florence and Andre will be relegated to Round 5, where they will battle to stay alive in the competition.

“I am feeling great, but what a weird heat that one was,” Kerr said. “There was so much seaweed and coconut sticks in the water. It was not dangerous for waves, it was just dangerous to catch a wave that was half a foot because you would get hit in the heat by a coconut or something. The best wave of the heat was John’s [Florence] one and he got all of that seaweed and it just stopped him in his tracks. I am just stoked to keep rolling through and keep the vibes going.”

Gabriel Medina of Brasil (pictured)  winning his heat during Round Three at the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Monday August 22, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Cestari SOCIAL: @kc80 @wslThis image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Round 4 Heat 4 saw an intense clash of CT heavyweights, as Wilson took on WSL Champions Joel Parkinson (AUS) (2012) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) (2014). The thrilling match-up up saw each of the three surfers charge and post 9-point rides. Wilson opened his account with a near-perfect 9.70 and Parkinson quickly followed suit with a 9.37. Wilson locked in an excellent 8.27 back-up score and held the lead for the entire heat. Medina fought back with a 9.27, but like Parkinson, could not find the second score required to take the Quarterfinal spot.

“That was great to start the heat with a few waves,” Wilson said. “The heat before had nothing in it at all. We were even super deep at the start of the heat, too. We were hassling each other a bit. That real south wave popped up and I was able to get a score out of it. Joel [Parkinson] caught one that was really good. Gabby [Gabriel Medina] came back into the heat with a 9. It was pretty much wide open until the end, but the waves just shut down after Gabby’s wave.”

Wilson previously eliminated defending event winner Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Round 3 Heat 10 with a buzzer-beater barrel ride to score a near-perfect 9.20.

Italo Ferreira of Brasil (pictured) winning eliminated in Round Three at the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Monday August 22, 2016. PHOTO: © WSL/ Poullenot SOCIAL:  @wslThis image is the copyright of  the World Surf League and is provided royalty free for editorial use only, in all media now known or hereafter created. No commercial rights granted. Sale or license of the images is prohibited. This image is a factually accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Round 3 also saw another shock elimination when Asing took down 2015 Rookie of the Year, Italo Ferreira (BRA), in the opening heat of the day. Asing secured a 5.67 on his opening exchange to take an early lead. The top-seeded Brazilian took control with a 12.58 combined score, but the Hawaiian came out of a deep tube ride to earn an excellent 8.40 for a narrow 1.64 lead. Ferreira will walk away with a 13th place finish from the event.

“It was like I said earlier, ‘Kill or be killed,’” Asing said. “I am coming out as hard as I can. I came prepared to this event. Even though I do not have any results this season, that does not mean that I am going to give up. I came ready and I stuck to my game plan. I feel like Italo [Ferreira] thought he was going to walk right through that heat and he thought I was probably an easy draw, but I am giving it the best I can. I am fighting for money, my career, my work, and I will not let these guys take my money and take my job.”

2016 WSL Rookies Alex Ribeiro (BRA) and Kanoa Igarashi (USA), the last two rookies left in the draw, were eliminated in Round 3 by CT superstars Florence and Parkinson, respectively.

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1:
 Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.07 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.43
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.03 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 5.67
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.00 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 5.17
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.50 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.33
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50 def. Nat Young (USA) 12.50
Heat 6: Bruno Santos (BRA) 12.33 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.83
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) 13.33 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 8.57
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.44 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 4.37
Heat 9: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.07 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.57
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.03 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.77
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.53 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 5.20
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.66 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 7.83

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 4 Results:
Heat 1:
 Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.30, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.63, Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.63
Heat 2: Bruno Santos (BRA) 18.30, Kelly Slater (USA) 18.17, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.33
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.00, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.06, John John Florence (HAW) 2.96
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.97, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.04, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.60

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:
 Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)