Smith surfs high on ASP World Tour
12 April 2010
South African surfing star Jordy Smith placed fifth Down Under in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on the weekend, after being narrowly eliminated by reigning ASP world champion and eventual event runner-up Mick Fanning in their quarterfinal encounter.
Due to a lack of swell at Bells Beach the organisers relocated the event 90 minutes to the west and completed it at Johanna where nine-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater defeated Fanning in the final, which was held in solid 1 to 1.3 metre beach-break waves.
In the quarterfinals, Smith posted the heat high score of 8.50 points out of 10 to take the lead from Fanning with just six minutes remaining. He was, however, denied a semifinal spot when the Australian, needing 6.68 points for victory, posted a 6.70 with two minutes left on the clock. Fanning then improved on that with a 6.87 on the final siren.
Earlier in the season, Smith placed second in the opening event, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, which was won by Taj Burrow.
Travis Logie, who was the only other South African in the Rip Curl Pro, tied for 33rd. He fell to Taylor Knox by only seven-hundredths of a point, losing 13.67 to 13.60.
Fanning, meanwhile, went on to defeat current ASP number one Taj Burrow in the semis to set up a final against Slater, who showed little discomfort from a hairline fracture in his right foot that he had incurred free-surfing earlier in the week.
The American overcame Michel Bourez in Round four, Bede Durbidge in the quarters, and Bobby Martinez in the semis.
The first half of the 35-minute final was a lacklustre affair before Fanning lit up an ordinary looking wave to take the lead with a 7.17.
With less than 10 minutes left, Slater, bidding to join the legendary Mark Richards as the only competitor to lift the famous Bell trophy for a fourth time, ignited his challenge with an amazing aerial manoeuvre.
Boosting himself high into the air over a close-out section, Slater completely lost contact with his surfboard as he landed in the white-water but somehow emerged standing up on the board at the bottom of the wave to earn 8.93 points and take the lead.
Two minutes later Fanning made his only mistake when, holding priority, he elected not to go on a well-shaped inside wave. That decision cost him dearly as Slater proceeded to string together a series of high performance manoeuvres for 8.10 points and the 42nd event title of his storied career.
The event results see Burrow retain his lead in the ASP World Tour rankings, adding a third place to his victory in the opening event of the year for a total of 16 500 ratings points. Slater moved into the number two with his win plus a ninth, while Smith slipped one place to number with his runner-up finish last month and fifth in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
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