Greatest Contest Surfing Ever? Kelly says, YES.
The ocean was alive for the final day of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at the End of the Road, and heat after heat the ocean and competitors joined forces for a wondrous spectacle. The most anticipated heat of the day Kelly Slater vs. John Florence was all that and more! John John rode four waves and Kelly rode three pitting them in a dead tie with John John’s attempted buzzer beater falling just shy. Per ASP rules the count back went to the highest single wave score and Kelly’s perfect 10 gave him the nod.
The final went down in similar fashion with Kelly Slater and Gabriel Mendina trading epic waves and tactical flare. Gabriel came out ahead in what will be a day no surf fan soon forgets.
Kelly Slater rode an SP12, 6’1 x 18 1/4 x 2 3/8 26.7L
Beyond the final two heats, the contest packed huge excitement in all forms for CI team riders.
In Round three, two CI team riders, Kai Otton and Nat Young squared off and both accumulating higher than 18 point totals. Kai bagged the win and the second 10 of the contest with many saying the longest barrel ever at Teahupo’o.
Seabass put up a show and a half against John John in heat 8 of round 3 with two super 9 point rides that would have won all but four other heats in round three.
Kelly and Kai pack 10s and low 9s were throw-away scores, so…
We ask again. Greatest day of contest surfing ever? You make that call.
Team Rider quivers:
6’1 x 18 1/4 x 2 3/8 26.7L SP12
6’3 x 18 1/2 x 2 5/16 Taco Grinder
6’5 x 18 1/2 x 2 5/16 Taco Grinder
6’6 x 18 5/8 x 2 3/8 29.5L Proton Step
6’8 x 18 5/8 x 2 3/8 31L Proton step
6’3 x 18 3/4 x 2 5/16 Taco Grinder
6’5 x 18 3/4 x 2 5/16 Taco Grinder
Shop Teahupo’o set-ups:
Photos: Ryan Miller Photography