Billabong pro tahiti
Heavy water - heavy weights.
There have been great match ups and rivalries in sporting history; Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Mohamad Ali vs. Frazier, Mike Tyson and Hollyfield. When two great talents come head to head and there can only are one winner, those once in a lifetime battles are created. It was an overcast Tahitian sky when Kelly Slater and John John Florence stepped into the aquatic ring which is Teahupoo and before even the first punch was thrown commentators were talking about this being the greatest heat in surfing competition history and unlike most sporting events it lived up to, even surpassed the all the hype.
Kelly Slater at age 44 is without doubt the king (long time king) of surfing and John John Florence at 23 is the new heir apparent. Both surfers are renowned for their ability to ride deep backhand aggressive barrels – John John grew up on the North Shore of Hawaii and called the world’s most notorious wave Pipeline his playground. Slater surfed……. well everywhere better than anyone else. So the best of the old and the best of the new paddled out into the amphitheatre setting that Teahupoo offers with waves not perfect but close. So often in surf contests the finals are a let-down due to mother nature not fitting in with the schedule and the surf either goes flat or the weather is bad, which means the surfers can often not really show their talents, but this year, after two days of average waves and long flat spells, the ocean switched on as if on cue for the historic final and Teahupoo started to pour through 8-10ft waves as the two heavy weights were about to go head to head. There was little gamesmanship, no feeling each other out. The two superstars wasted no time in starting to rack up scores; they were there to get barrels, high scores and the titles and they both went straight to work. Florence was quick to get points on the board with an 8.00 on his opening ride, but Slater fired back with a near-perfect 9.77. Slater landed a miraculous free-fall drop, (which has become his trademark at Teahupoo) followed by escaping a deep barrel to gain a 9.17. to the deafening screams of the crowd. There were plenty of waves though out the 40 minute final with the crowd yelling and screaming at every moment, no waves ridden scored less than an 8, which in itself is a staggering achievement. Within 25 minutes Florence was put in a combination situation (meaning he needed two new waves to catch up to Kelly score) and there was only ten minutes left on the clock. John John continued to hunt down those waves pushing Slater to improve his almost perfect score line. But Slater is king for a reason and continued to better his score.
Taking a moment to look the other way