- 24 August 2016 | Surfing
Kelly Slater has conquered the Billabong Pro Tahiti 2016, at Teahupoo. The 11-time world champion defeated John John Florence with a near-perfect two-wave total.
The "King" is back in the game. A couple of hours after securing a Perfect 20 heat, Kelly Slater, 44, won the 55th Championship Tour victory of his long career, and the first since the Pipe Masters in 2013.
"When I look back that will for sure be one of the best wins I have ever had. To have John John in the Final is a dream for me. It is no secret that I am towards the tail-end of my career," revealed Slater.
"John John and Gabriel 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."
Kelly Slater had a stellar finals day. He eliminated Keanu Asing with two Perfect 10-point rides, dispatched the always-deadly Bruno Santos with a total score of 19.27 (another Perfect 10 included), and beat Adrian Buchan in the semifinal with 18.40 points.
"It just came together for me. 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," added Slater.
As a result, the Floridian received the Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award. Slater dominated the overhead barrels like no one else, and he feels special with this trophy in his hands.
"I'm so stoked; I've worked for this thing for years. Andy would be equally mad and stoked that I won this. Last time I surfed against Andy, it was here at Teahupoo, 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." concluded Kelly.
Billabong Pro Tahiti 2016 | Final
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 19.67
2. John John Florence (HAW) 15.23
2016 Men's Championship Tour 2016 | Top 10 After Teahupoo
1. John John Florence (HAW), 39,900
2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 36,000
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA), 35,700
4. Adrian Buchan (AUS), 26,200
5. Julian Wilson (AUS), 25,200
5. Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25,200
7. Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24,900
8. Kelly Slater (USA), 24,450
9. Italo Ferreira (BRA), 24,000
10. Mick Fanning (AUS), 23,450