Wow, now that the spit has settled and I have had some time to consider the ramifications of the event in Tahiti, one thing has become absolutely clear! Kelly Slater is finally showing his age and some associated chinks in the armor! Yes, he made the final at Teahupoo, but he was owned by Ace Buchan, who dominated every heat from Round 4 to take the win. Kelly had some serious wipeouts in his final day heats, got owned on the reef and simply did not look his usual calm and dominant self. Forty will do that to you…
Another guy who went to the semi finals but has allowed the door to open on the rankings is Mick Fanning. He is still out in number 2 but the gap is not huge and everyone in the Top 10 still have an outside shot at the title. Luckily for Mick and Kelly (Number 1) there closest rivals Joel and Jordy both dropped by the way side before the Quarters. Jordy was looking strong until a rampant Ace simply shut him down! Kelly owning Joel and thus not a surprise that he and Ace made the final.
Ace was the man though taking down Jordy, Mick, John John Florence and Kelly in 1 day! That is quite the results list for any surfer. He jumps up the ratings into number 10 and will be feeling very confident heading for Trestles. Another man who shined in Tahiti was Freddy Patacchia. The Hawaiian was in sublime form and was unlucky not to make his quarter final when the wave gods deserted him against Kelly. Another old boy standing up and taking names was Kai Otton. before the competition I was writing him off as a definite good bye at the end of the year, but he charged hard and will be a danger in France and Portugal later this year if the waves get meaty! Making the semis he has also climbed up the ratings and will be feeling a lot safer!
One man who failed dismally after a great start to the year was Michele Bourez. I really thought he would do well in this event, but unfortunately it was not to be. Nat Young was my second bad boy! After the start to the year he has had most people were expecting a big result in Tahiti, but the kid dropped the ball.
So, now we head off to Trestles in California with a wide open World Title hunt, led by Mick, Kelly and Joel who can all get a big result at the cobblestone perfection point. They will all have eyes in the back of their heads for Jordy Smith though, who has shown how dominant he can be out there. (Parko knows he should have lost “that” heat last year!) Also look to the Brazilians to come back with Toledo, Medina and Adriano all danger men in California!
Congrats to Ace on a well deserved win! Stoked I picked ya in my Fantasy Team!
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (Following Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 38,950 pts
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 37,900 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 30,700 pts
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 29,200 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 25,400 pts