Billabong Pro Tahiti: Final Day
Congratulations to Gabriel Medina who has won the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti! Again, securing his top of the ladder position!
Mother Nature invited the competitors with a huge 10 foot swell at Teahupo’o, for all to show their barrel riding skills to the world. Gabriel remains safe at the top of the ladder, leading over Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson and Michel Bourez. The win is yet another valuable stepping stone in his World Title campaign. It’s the third event Medina has taken in the 2014 season and the opportunity to become to first Brazilian ASP World Champion is on the horizon. “I don’t really know what to say,” said Medina after his win. “Before the Final I went home to talk to my mom, and the words she said inspired me: ‘No one is bigger than God.’ And I trust in God. I think that was him, I am so blessed to have these conditions at Chopes. I’m so happy right now.
“Kelly is a legend of surfing,” Medina continued. “When I fell off, I thought I had lost that heat. But I thank God. This is the best feeling ever. The waves were perfect and big. This feeling is amazing. I don’t know how to describe it. I love surfing, I love what I’m doing right now.
“I want to thank ASP to put this event on here, I love this wave now more. Thanks to the water patrol to keep us safe. I’m really happy to be part of this.”The final day of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti presented nothing but epic waves and some stand out performances as the final heats were held. The day commenced with Round 4, with many amazing waves and surprising big name upsets. Although Round 4 is a ‘no losers’ round, the results can still have a major influence on overall results.The end of Round 4 saw Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan advance over Michel Bourez and Tiago Pires, Gabriel Medina overcome Bede Durbidge and Kolohe Andino, John John absolutely kill it against Brett Simpson and Kai Otton, with Kelly Slater also advancing over inform Owen Wright and Dion Atkinson.
As Round 5 begun, it was obvious which four surfers were in it to win it. Making stand-out appearances the entire competition was Hawaiian John John Florence, Floridian Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina, and our own Aussie charger Owen Wright.Quarterfinal 1 saw Bede Durbidge take on fellow Aussie Adrian Buchan. It was a close heat for the entire 30 minutes, though Durbidge rose victorious over his fellow countryman. “I’m just getting more and more comfortable and wanting the bigger ones every time I paddled back out,” Durbidge said. “I caught a big flogging and after that I thought well that’s the worst it could be so I might as well go for it now.”
This was followed by Medina taking on Kolohe Andino in Quarterfinal 2. The Brazilian and the Californian went head to head as the huge sets continued to roll in, the conditions proving so perfect that both could pick and chose exactly which wave they wanted.
“I had my strategy and worked it so I’m pretty stoked,” Medina said.
Dion Atkinson really proved himself this competition, especially in Quarterfinal 3 when he took on the infamous John John Florence. Both surfers gave it everything they had, charging the bigger sets and looking comfortable when doing so. Though Atkinson got probably some of the best waves in his life including a score of 10, he could not beat the near perfect combination score posted by the Hawaiian.Kelly took on Owen Wright in Quaterfinal 4 but proved too strong for the Australian, with near perfect scores thanks to big, deep barrel rides. Semi Final 1 saw Bede Durbidge meet World Number 1 Gabriel Medina for yet another spectacular display of surfing. Durbidge had been pushing the limits the entire competition, evident when he took a wipe-out in an earlier heat. Both surfers managed to take the huge drops make the amazing tubes, though it was the young Brazilian phenomenon who stole the stage and progressed through to the Final.
We all had almost wished it was Semi Final 2 that was the Final, as John John Florence took on 11 time world champion Kelly Slater in the 10-12 foot conditions. The pair pushed each other beyond belief, making late take-offs and pulling into some of the heaviest waves the contest had seen. It was an amazing show of courage and competitiveness watching the new take on the old, with spectacular surfing from both. John Johns final score was just shy of Slater’s, as Kelly advanced through to meet Medina in the Final of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Florence left the contest with 10 nine point rides, and a perfect 10.Though getting knocked in the Quarterfinals, it was still all smiles for Owen Wright as he took home the prestigious Andy Irons Award. The award focuses on and is given to the surfer who best represents everything about Andy Irons. From charging, to the relaxed, easy going attitude, Wright proved to be a great choice and indeed the man for this amazing award.SurfStitch would like to again congratulate Gabriel Medina for taking out the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti! What an outstanding performance from all the top competitors, putting on a great display of surfing and pushing the limits of the sport to the next level! We now all wait in excitement for Stop #8 of the ASP World Championship Tour at Trestles in California!
For all the highlights from the final day of competition at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, check out the clip below!
*Imagery by ASP, Billabong