Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, has claimed the 2013 Billabong Pro Tahiti over 11-time ASP World Champion and four-time Billabong Pro winner Kelly Slater (USA) in solid four-to-six foot (1.5 – 2 metre) waves at Teahupo’o.
Event No. 6 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), this season’s Billabong Pro Tahiti saw the famed South Pacific reef pass of Teahupo’o turn on throughout the event with the world’s best surfers redefining high-performance barrel-riding, culminating in a electric, marathon 19-heat final day.
The young Australian was on a tear during the final day of competition, posting excellent scores through his five heats today. Buchan’s back-to-back 9-point rides to open up the Final for phenomenally deep forehand barrels proved enough to stave off an inspired recovery from Slater, including a death-defying righthand barrel in the dying moments of the Final.
“I can’t believe it,” Buchan said. “Kelly (Slater) is incredible and I thought he snatched it for me at the end. I couldn’t go right…but I probably should have. I still can’t believe it. It hasn’t sunk in. What an incredible day though. The sun came out during the last five minutes and it’s all just really special right now.”
Buchan’s win today marks the second of his eight-year career amongst the world’s elite (his first in France over Slater in 2008) and Central Coast goofy-footer rockets from 18th to 10th on the 2013 ASP WCT rankings.
“I knew I had to step it up today,” Buchan said. “Had to plow through some big names today. Every time I paddled out, I told myself that I only had to catch two waves. That was my mantra through each heat and it worked out well for me.”
Slater was a man possessed on the final day of competition, surviving horrific wipeouts throughout his five heats of competition to find himself in this evening’s Final against Buchan. Despite an incredible backhand barrel and a last-minute effort on a righthander, the Australian’s early scores would prove too much for Slater to overcome.
“Took a few poundings out there today for sure,” Slater said. “Felt like I dislocated my shoulder at one point but it feels okay now. The waves were really fun today and Ace (Adrian Buchan) just happened to get those two gems at the start of the heat. Those two were the ones and I would have preferred a win, but Ace has been in really good form all day and he’s a deserving winner.”
Slater’s Final berth this evening pushes the Floridian into the frontrunner spot on the 2013 ASP WCT rankings heading into the back four events of the season.
“Trestles, Europe and Pipe is a pretty strong leg for me historically,” Slater said. “It’s pretty close at the top right now so it will be an interesting finish to the season.”
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.94
2 – Kelly Slater (USA) 17.90
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.80
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.73 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 7.67
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.07 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.06
QF 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 19.17 def. John John Florence (HAW) 17.33
QF 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.54 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.90
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.86 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.66
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.20 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.40
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.16 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.30
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 17.27
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.74 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.97
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.67, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.47, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.67
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 18.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.80, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.10
Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.93, Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.74, Kelly Slater (USA) 14.77
Heat 4: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 18.53, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.47, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.70
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.34 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 0.73
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.60 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 7.10
Heat 11: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 16.70 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.16
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.33 def. Alain Riou (PYF) 15.76
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