Billabong‚Äö?Ñ?¥s Tiago Pires Defeats Kelly Slater at Rip Curl Pro Search "Somewhere in Indonesia"
First Defeat of Slater This Season Makes History at Capbreton, France
Billabong Team rider Tiago Pires made history in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Search "Somewhere in Indonesia" when he marched into Round 4 defeating 8X ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in the four to six foot waves at the event's prime venue. Pires, a rookie on this year's ASP World Tour, became the first ASP Top 45 member to defeat Slater this season in a high scoring battle where he ended up winning with an excellent 17.57 point heat tally to Slater's 16.33 point result (both out of a possible 20).
Pires, who surfed in Heat 8 of Round 3, started the duel way behind the current ASP World Tour leader and was left in need of a 16.34 point combination as eight minutes only remained in the heat. Slater, who opened the battle with an 8.50 point ride before securing a solid lead with another 7.83 point wave (both out of a possible 10), had a comfortable lead but Pires came back in the last five minutes netting a 9.17 point ride and a last second 8.40 pointer to take what will remain his most unforgettable victory.
"There were two waves at the end of that heat and he went on the first one and I took the second and it turned out to be a really good wave", Pires said. "When I came out of the barrel and into the channel, everyone was screaming. This is the biggest win of my career. I have won a few ASP WQS events, but to beat Slater here in these conditions is amazing."
Pires, who was rated No. 38 on the ASP World Tour going into Stop No. 6 of 11 of the Dream Tour, was cheered by a massive crowd when coming back to the shore. He achieved as well his best result this year by reaching Round 4 where he will face Dayyan Neve in Heat 4.
"When I came up through the cave it felt like I won the event", Pires said. "There were so many people screaming and cheering, It felt really good. I guess it's a big deal that no one else had beat him this year, but I've been training hard and I hope to be going much further in this event."
Slater, who has won four out of six events on the ASP World Tour this year and leads the ASP Top 45 comfortably en route to an unprecedented 9th ASP World title, had not been beaten by an ASP World touring surfer yet this year, his only loss being to event wildcard Manoa Drollet in the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Slater accepted his loss with graciousness but is already focused on Stop No. 7 of the Dream Tour that will take place at Trestles, California, where he is the defending champion.
"I knew I shouldn't have gone on that first wave", Slater said. "Congratulations to Tiago as he surfed really well. He's definitely not one who I underestimate and he is probably one of the best barrel-riders in the world. It was one of those situations that I played through in my head about a minute before it actually happened, but that happens from time to time.
Before the contest started, I said my luck would have to run out somewhere and I guess it was here." The last European to defeat Slater was 2007 ASP Rookie of the Year Jeremy Flores in the Billabong Pro Tahiti in 2007.
Apart from Pires' historical performance, the two other European surfers in the event Miky Picon and Jeremy Flores surfed as well in Round 3 and Picon was the only one to advance through to Round 4, Flores losing to Ben Dunn in Heat 12.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH ROUND 3 RESULTS
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.84 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 9.77
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 17.50 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.83
Heat 3: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 6.86 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 4.90
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.40 def. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 11.43
Heat 5: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.17 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.64
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.43 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 14.40
Heat 7: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 17.43 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 11.83
Heat 8: Tiago Pires (PRT) 17.57 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.33
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.34 def. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 3.90
Heat 10: Bruce Irons (HAW) 15.50 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 6.24
Heat 11: Mikael Picon (FRA) 14.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 5.67
Heat 12: Ben Dunn (AUS) 14.43 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.17
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.30 def. Ben Bourgeois (USA) 8.43
Heat 14: Dean Morrison (AUS) 10.10 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 9.60
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) 17.33 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 9.34
Heat 16: Chris Ward (USA) 14.84 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.67
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 2: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 4: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 6: Mikael Picon (FRA) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Dean Morrison (AUS)
Heat 8: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Chris Ward (USA)