Kelly Slater has conquered the 2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti, in 6-to-12 foot dream barrels, at the shallow and dangerous reef of Teahupoo. The American surfer beat Owen Wright in a hard-fought heat and takes the lead of the 2011 ASP World Tour.
Wright opened the final battle with two medium-to-good waves and Slater answered with a 9.50 point ride. In the last half of the duel, Kelly sealed the deal with a 8.93 point wave and even went over the falls in the last minutes, in a strange shared wave. Terrific.
“In the Final, I fell on a couple of waves that were maybe better than what I ended up getting scored on. It put the pressure on me, and took the pressure off him (Wright). He got that really big one at the end that could have gotten pretty close to the score. These are the best conditions this event has ever run in. It’s been a phenomenal week”, said Kelly.
“It’s one of those weird events where you have to scramble through the early rounds. You have to be in tune with the tides, swell direction and everything to make sure you get those waves that get you the score.”
In the first Semifinal, Kelly Slater got over Australian creative aerialist Josh Kerr with another high score. After having a 9-point wave under his belt, the Floridian managed his opponent's performances.
It seems no one could handle the pressure of surfing against Slater and the 10-time world champion even had time to drop from the second floor into a barrel. Pure stoke for millions of online spectators.
Soon after, Kelly ended Josh dreams with a professional tube ride in the medium score: 5.50 points and he has locked himself a place in the final.
In the Travis Logie versus Owen Wright battle, Slater was studying the rides from the boat. Logie had to reach the final to secure a place in the Dream Tour. The South Africa spent half of the heat in the lead with only three waves.
Wright answered with a quality speedy barrel: 9.80 point ride. Logie was in combo land. Owen improved his overall result - 19.50 points - and it was tube time for the Australian surfer. He got a ticket to meet Kelly Slater.
The Andy Irons Forever Award went to Jeremy Flores and was handed over by Andy's brother, pro surfer and tube riding icon Bruce Irons. The 2010 Billabong Pro Tahiti marked the comeback of greatly missed Andy Irons. Bruce had an emotional free surf moment for himself, minutes before the grand final.
“Andy (Irons) meant everything to me,” Flores said. “He has been the guy I’ve looked up to my whole life. In heavy waves, in all waves, he was the best and to earn this award is so special for me. He inspired everyone on tour and he’s been my inspiration in Tahiti. I know he was smiling on this event. Thank you Andy.”
2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti | Final
Kelly Slater (USA), 18.43 points
Owen Wright (AUS), 17.10 points