VIDEO: Brevard’s Own Kelly Slater Scores Perfect In Victory At Billabong Pro Tahiti
By WSL // August 24, 2016
SLATER SCORES PERFECT 20.00 EN ROUTE TO FIRST VICTORY SINCE 2013
ABOVE VIDEO: 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.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (WSL) – 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 on Tuesday 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.
“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,” said Slater.
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.”
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.”