Billy Stairmand: Kiwi hero

Billy Stairmand, the 21-year-old New Zealander, has defeated ten-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater in the Round of 24 of the Telstra Drug Aware Pro, at Margaret River.

Stairmand is now a hero to all Kiwi surf fans and his fellow competitors. "I wasn't expecting anything", said Billy. "I just wanted to go out and have fun and make the most of having a man-on-man heat with Kelly Slater. Now I'm the happiest I've ever been - I feel like I won the contest!"

Gentle offshore breeze, sunshine and a 8-to-10 foot swell marked this incredible day of surfing in Australia. Kelly was clearly disappointed with his early exit, but the ultimate competitor knows that losing is just a part competing.

"You're gonna lose heats," said Slater. "No matter how good you're doing, at some point that bad heat comes along and for me it was today."

In other battles, Marc Lacomare sent his roommate in Margaret River, Aritz Aranburu packing in the round of 24 battle. Both surfers held the lead throughout the heat, but it was Lacomare who got the nod.

"I took a long time to catch my first wave," said Marc. "I only caught two waves in the heat, but I guess that's all you need. It's not easy out there, but it's fun when you get them."

The clear standout performers of the day were local lads Taj Burrow and Yadin Nicol. Both dominated their heats and put their local knowledge to work heading into the last day of competition. Taj particuarly impressive posting a perfect 10 point ride late in the day.

Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning surfed an incredible late heat and it was Wilson who bagged an incredible double for the day by eliminating Fanning on the back of his earlier performance eliminating Parkinson.

1, Sage Ericson (USA) V Jessi Mylie-Dyer (AUS)
2. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) V Silvana Lima (BRA)
3. Rebecca Woods (AUS) V Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
4. Paige Hareb (NZ) V Courtney Conlogue (USA)

1. Granger Larsen (HAW) V Marc Lacomare (France)
2. Damien Hobgood (USA) V Jadson Andre (BRA)
3. Yadin Nicol (AUS) V Julian Wilson (AUS)
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) V William Cardosa (BRA)

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