Kelly Slater: warming up

Tahiti pumped six-foot barreling waves for the warm-up session of the 2011 Billabong Pro Teahupoo, the fifth event on the 2011 ASP Men’s World Tour.

Large to life-threatening conditions are expected for the second half of the event’s two week waiting period. Meanwhile, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Michel Bourez and Joel Parkinson traded barrels in idyllic conditions.

The Floridian champion is back to the Dream Tour after missing Jeffreys Bay and commented on the late withdrawal of another surfer from the Billabong Pro, Californian Bobby Martinez.

Martinez’s withdrawal opens the door for the next highest seed, South African goofy-foot, Travis Logie, who sits on the verge of requalification heading into the mid-year ratings rotation.

“I got enough of the s#!t last month,” said Slater. “Hey, maybe I’m biased. They’re giving someone else a spot? I think that’s cool. I don’t think Travis (Logie) thinks that’s disrespectful, I don’t think Cory (Lopez) thinks that’s disrespectful. They’re happy with it"

“Some guy who wants to be here is going to be here. With the forecast like this, I don’t see why you wouldn’t show up.”

The official opening ceremony included an emotional tribute to 2010 Billabong Pro champion, Andy Irons. Irons won the first event at Teahupo’o in 1997 and then twice more before dying of heart complications last November. A commemorative award has been named in Irons’ honour and will be awarded to the most committed surfer of the Billabong Pro event.

“Andy was all about balls-to-the-wall surfing out at Teahupo’o, I think he was probably the best out here. It will definitely be a special week and it will be an emotional one towards the final”, said Joel Parkinson.

Excellent two-to-three metre wave conditions will kick off the 2011 Billabong Pro Teahupoo. Watch it live at www.billabongpro.com

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Daniel Ross (AUS), Heiarii Williams (PYF)
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS)