Day three of the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti

by stab March 08, 2016 4 min read

The Billabong Pro, Tahiti will finish tomorrow. Without Kelly Slater. The Floridian was eliminated early on by trials winner Ricardo Dos Santos. But, luckily the champ’s a great sport and stuck around to offer some commentary for most of today’s action. Stab logged some of his more succinct (and not so succinct) views, the most premium of which you can cut through below to get an overall sense of how the day unfolded.

“I have a question,” mused Kelly. “Did anyone else want to start later in the day? ‘Cause I really did. I’m not saying that only now because it’s good. I’m saying that because of the forecast and how bad it was when we started the contest today. It was horrendous this morning, and we all knew it was gonna get better, lighter winds, better conditions, and I heard the argument that we might not’ve been able to finish this round, but… who cares?”

Jeremy Flores, who last year posted two 10s in a heat, posted another one today. But, according to Kelly, it came too early and would be his undoing. And, as usual, Kelly was right. Jeremy couldn’t back-up. “It’s actually really tough when you get a 10 early in a heat,” said Kelly. “I’ve seen as many heats lost as won when the 10 happens early. You almost lose that little bit of nervous anxiety that keeps you focused. I’ve had 10s out here, but I’ve never had a heat where I’ve had a 10 and I was comfortable. That’s the thing with Teahupoo, you could theoretically catch two 10s out here within one minute of each other, so you’re never safe.”

And, now for some shorter snippets. Here’s what Kelly Slater says about…

How y’want a good Chopes wave to unfold: “It’s like watching a play or something, you want it to climax late in the ride, not early. You don’t want it to spit and then be done, before you ever come out. If it gets smaller and then you come out, it’s not that exciting. You want the opposite. You want it to be slow and then big and then blow you out the end.”

Damien Hobgood: “He’s one of the best of all time out here. Him and his brother sit wide, even when they freesurf, they’re never the deepest guy. And it’s not ’cause they’re scared, they know what waves they’re looking for (the west bowls).”

Being wave-starved for eight days: “I’ve only caught about 10 waves out here this year. There’s been so few waves to ride this whole week, I was gonna go home on Monday and come back on Saturday.”

Quads in barrels: “They’re really fast. Miguel, CJ, Parko, everyone’s been riding them. Slowly but surely guys are coming around, and I feel like I’m losing my advantage.”

Owen Wright: “On the beach he’s like, friendly and is who he is, but in the water he’s very competitive and… I don’t wanna say intense ’cause he doesn’t look intense, but he’s very focused and he just knows what he’s doing. He’s really good at making his decisions and sticking to them, he’s really confident.”

Mick Fanning: “Mick’s put in a lot of time out here and the one year he put in a ton of time, he made the finals. And he really improved his surfing out here especially, but also overall in barrels. And he was committed to that.”

Ricardo Dos Santos: “I don’t know much about him. In fact, last year out here, I didn’t know much about him at all except that he won the trials and the waves were good. And this year it was small and he won the trials again, so you’ve gotta expect he’s basically pretty good in all the conditions out here.”

The artesian water bottle on the desk in the commentator’s booth: “And by the way, this is not a bottle of vodka. This is water. A really classy bottle of water.”

Contest resumes at 7am local time tomorrow and, as Kelly says: “Wait til tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a whole different ball game out here. I’m saying double this size. It’s likely gonna be scary size in the morning. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Heat 1: 
Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.17 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.34
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.83 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.37
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.04 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 11.00
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.30 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 17.50
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 18.30 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.17
Heat 6: Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 18.34 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.44
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.83 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 4.47
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.60 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.60
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.10 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.93
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW) 13.30 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 13.17
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.60 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 4.73
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.87 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.67

Heat 1: 
Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.60, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.10, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.80
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.76, Owen Wright (AUS) 15.60, Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 9.67
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.23, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.77, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.47
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.83, John John Florence (HAW) 7.00, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 3.23

Heat 1: 
Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)


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