Australian surfer Adrian “Ace” Buchan claimed the Billabong Pro title, defeating 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater in the final at barreling Teahupo’o. It was an exciting final heat in Tahiti as solid four-to-six foot waves challenged surfers to select the waves with the most scoring potential while using their priority wisely. Goofy-footer Buchan found solid left-handed tube rides to secure the win and take out Slater who went for a right-hander in the final minutes of the heat.
“I can’t believe it,” Buchan said. “Kelly (Slater) is incredible and I thought he snatched it for me at the end. I couldn’t go right…but I probably should have. I still can’t believe it. It hasn’t sunk in. What an incredible day though. The sun came out during the last five minutes and it’s all just really special right now” said an emotional Buchan while being interviewed on the boat in the channel. The win at Teahupo’o boosts Ace to World No. 10 in the 2013 ASP WCT rankings and advances Slater to No. 1.
Buchan also defeated two-time world champion Mick Fanning in the Semifinals who currently sits in the World No. 2 spot.
“I knew I had to step it up today,” Buchan said. “Had to plow through some big names today. Every time I paddled out, I told myself that I only had to catch two waves. That was my mantra through each heat and it worked out well for me.”
Slater hit the sharp, shallow reef several times throughout the competition, once getting sucked over the falls after pulling an aerial while kicking out. Teahupo’o is known for punishing surfers with unforgiving poundings at the reef pass in Tahiti. It wasn’t too long ago that surfer Keala Kennely suffered a gnarly wipeout, bouncing off the coral reef and hitting her face. Jordy Smith has also met the reef in the past and dislocated a rib.
“Took a few poundings out there today for sure,” Slater said. “Felt like I dislocated my shoulder at one point but it feels okay now. The waves were really fun today and Ace (Adrian Buchan) just happened to get those two gems at the start of the heat. Those two were the ones and I would have preferred a win, but Ace has been in really good form all day and he’s a deserving winner.”
John John Florence was award the Andy Irons Most Committed Award for the Billabong Pro for his performance at the event. Florence nailed a perfect 10 in the Quarterfinal against Buchan and finished equal fifth.
“I’m very honored to be awarded the AI Most Committed Award,” Florence said. “He was a mentor to me and all my friends growing up. We all miss AI. We all still look up to him and what he did in the water. I obviously wanted to do better in the event, but if I couldn’t make it any further, this award is pretty much the most special one I could win. Looking forward to the next one.”
The ASP World Tour heads to Trestles for the Hurley Pro September 15-21, 2013.
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.94
2 – Kelly Slater (USA) 17.90
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.80
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.73 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 7.67
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.07 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.06
QF 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 19.17 def. John John Florence (HAW) 17.33
QF 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.54 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.90
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.86 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.66
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (Following Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 38,950 pts
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 37,900 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 30,700 pts
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 29,200 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 25,400 pts