Durban’s Travis Logie recorded his career best result in an ASP World Title Series event when he placed third in the Billabong Pro Tahiti which was won by reigning and 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in classic two metre waves at Teahupoo in French Polynesia yesterday (Monday).
Meanwhile fellow South African Jordy Smith retained his ASP No. 2 ranking despite being eliminated by Logie in a re-run Round 3 heat after Smith suffered a dislocated rib in powerful three metre surf on Sunday.
Logie, 32, ranked No. 44 prior to the event and desperate to make the top 32 cut-off before 15 September that would enable him to compete in the World Title race for the last five events of the year, received a late call-up following the withdrawal of Bobby Martinez (USA).
Encouraged by his wife, Logie flew from Europe, where he was competing in the Star and Prime rated events, to Tahiti, arriving without surfboards and riding, and breaking, several of good friend Alan Riou’s boards as he progressed through the event .
Logie’s fairytale run to the semifinals saw him win his Round 1 heat over fourth seed Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Jadson Andre (BRA) to advance directly to Round 3. There he lost in the injury affected heat against Smith which the ASP decided to re-run and Logie, himself suffering from cuts, bruises and a strained AC shoulder joint resulting from a wipe-out during the heat, won through to Round 4.
Victory over Brett Simpson (USA) and Chris Davidson (AUS) in the three-man ‘demo’ round heat saw Logie skip Round 5 and progress directly to the quarterfinals. On the final day of the event he again defeated Simpson to reach the first semifinal of his five year career in ASP Title Race events, before meeting his match against in form Australian Owen Wright.
“It’s been an unbelievable week for me,” Logie said. “I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. I was in Europe, I barely made it here in time, I’ve been on borrowed equipment, I’ve been banged up on the reef, I had a re-surf with my good mate Jordy (Smith) and I’ve also scored the best result of my career. It’s all happened very fast. So yeah, I’m happy with how everything’s worked out, but would have liked to have made that Final.”
Logie is now ranked No. 34 and right on the cusp of re-qualifying for the elite tour when the ASP mid season rotation is implemented after the Quiksilver Pro New York, surfing’s first event to offer US $1 million in prize-money, which runs from 4-15 September. He will be hoping that the carnage suffered by the top 32 surfers in the phenomenal surf in Tahiti will enable him to get an injury-replacement spot in that event and to force his way into the top 32.
Smith entered Tahiti ranked No. 2 and briefly held the No. 1 spot in the 2011 ASP World Title rankings when the then No. 1, Joel Parkinson (AUS), was eliminated from the event in Round 2. However, the controversial re-run of his Round 3 heat against Logie robbed the 23 year-old, who now lives in Cape Town, of the opportunity to extend his rankings lead and he was ultimately overtaken when Slater won the event.
Smith is reportedly in America for diagnosis on his rib injury. Similar injuries can take four to six weeks to recover which would see him miss the next two events in New York and at Trestles in California during September
Slater, ranked No. 6 before Tahiti, benefited from the early elimination of Parkinson, Smith, Taj Burrow (AUS) and Flores to leapfrog them all into the rankings lead thanks to his haul of 10 000 precious points for the victory.
“It’s one of those weird events where you have to scramble through the early rounds,” Slater said. “Every year at this event, there are few of the top guys that lose in the early rounds and you have to scramble if you want a result here. 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.”
Today’s win marked Slater’s 47th elite tour victory (out of 67 Finals appearances).
The Billabong Pro Tahiti experienced what is being called the best surf in the 14 year-history of the event. Pristine two metre waves set the scene for Round 1 before huge and unruly waves provided a stiff test for Round 2.
The French Government then issued a Code Red alert for Saturday, keeping all commercial craft in the harbour, which resulted in some of the biggest waves ever seen at Teahupoo being surfed by specialist tow-in teams who had jetted into the South Pacific island specifically for the occasion.
Sunday saw Rounds 3, 4 and 5 being held in what Slater called “…probably the best I’ve ever surfed it – it’s just so big and perfect.” Windless conditions bright sunshine and incredibly hollow two to three metre (6 – 10 foot) waves provided the world’s best competitive surfers with ideal conditions.
The final day was held in still perfect but slightly smaller 2.0 to 2.5 metre waves that continued to pump all day.
Flores, who became just the third surfer at elite tour level to record a perfect heat of 20 points out of a possible 20 on Sunday morning, collected the coveted Andy Irons Award for most committed performance of the event. This is the inaugural year for the award which honours the late Andy irons (HAW), the three-time ASP World Champion and last year’s Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion.
Every ride from the Billabong Pro Tahiti can be viewed at www.billabongpro.com, along with news, images and results from each day’s action, including the tow-in sessions.
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.43
2 – Owen Wright (AUS) 17.10
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.60
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.50 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.40
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.94 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.83
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.17
QF 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 18.07 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 17.14
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.74 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.10
ASP WORLD TITLE RANKINGS TOP 5 (After Billabong Pro Tahiti)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 26,950 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26,500 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 22,750 pts
5. Owen Wright (AUS) 21,900 pts
PLEASE NOTE: Broadcast quality and web quality footage of the Billabong Pro Tahiti is available for Media outlets. Contact Life’s a Beach Communications for download details.
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships.
The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.