Billabong Pro Tahiti 2010: Round 3 Completed
From this point on, the ASP World Title events will have 36-man fields comprised of the ASP Top 34 (Top 32 finishers after five events plus two surfer wildcards) and two event wildcards.
Since the Billabong Pro Tahiti is event No. 5 of the 2010 ASP World Tour, it is both a pivotal point in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title as well as the midyear field reduction.
Patrick Gudauskas was one of the lucky ones to make it to Round 4. By moving forward in the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Gudauskas is now guaranteed an Equal 9th, a career best, and has been launched from No. 32 to No. 24 on the ASP World Title Race rankings.
“It was really tough out there,” Gudauskas said. “There weren’t a lot of waves coming through and I didn’t know if I should wait for the good ones or if there were even any good ones left. I knew I needed to go big at the end there so I thought, ‘whatever, I’ll just try this’.”
Mick Fanning, current ASP World No. 6, has been in top form all season, but has yet to recapture the dominance shown late last season. The Australian remains calm when discussing his ASP World Title defence, citing last year as an example.
“It’s still early days,” Fanning said. “I’m holding a couple throwaways already this season so I need to start looking at putting in results. It’s not all that different to last season really. Anyone can get on a roll at any time and put a few events away. I just need to stay focused on each heat and surf my best.”
Andy Irons (HAW), 32, past three-time ASP World Champion and former winner at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, survived a hard-fought heat with high-flying rookie Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 21, in deteriorating conditions this morning.
“I just tried to catch a lot of waves,” Irons said. “It was real stormy. So I just tried to catch a bunch of waves and stay busy. That kid (Wilkinson) is really wild, he can throw big airs and I knew he could blow the heat wide open with one wave. It was a close one.”
“It was really close,” Hobgood said. “Marco Polo beat Bobby Martinez here the other day – anyone can beat anyone out there. I hope we get some fun waves in the last few days.”
When competition of the 2010 BIllabong Pro Tahiti continues, Dane Reynolds will face C.J. Hobgood in the opening heat of Round 4.
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With the solid swells of Teahupoo, Tahiti and the added pressure of the mid-year ASP field reduction, this seasonís Billabong Pro Teahupoo is turning into one of the heaviest events in history.
By the end of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the 2010 ASP World Tour will have completed half the season, and the ASP Top 45 will be reduced to 34, meaning that 13 surfers will be relegated back to the ASP PRIME and Star events.