Hobgood Leads American Charge at Billabong Pro Tahiti

Stop No. 3 of 10 on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour has been utilizing its lengthy waiting period to hold out for improved conditions for the world’s finest surfers at the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 29, was a standout in Round 2 action. The former ASP World Champion will face Jay Thompson (AUS), 25, in Round 3 when the Billabong Pro Tahiti recommences.  Copyright: ASP/ CI/ ROBERTSON via GETTY IMAGESAfter over one week of competition the event has only seen the completion of Round 1 as well as the first eight heats of Round 2, with former ASP World Champion and former event champion C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, leading the charge on the American front.

Hobgood was a standout in Round 2 action, defeating Phillip Macdonald (Cronulla, AUS), 30, from competition in tough conditions when he issued a 14.50 out of 20 point heat total to advance through to Round 3.

The talented barrel-rider continues to show that the left-hand-barrels on offer at Teahupoo suit his style, as he is a perennial standout at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. “Phil (MacDonald) and I had a free surf before and it was sunny and we got some fun ones then when we started the heat, the squall hit us,” Hobgood said. “He (MacDonald) sat there waiting for a wave that never came and I notched up some backup scores. You never want to win heat like that. It was unfortunate for him, but at the end of the day, that’s professional surfing sometimes.”

Since Hobgood is currently sitting in the No. 5 position overall on the ASP World Tour the talented goofy-footer could potentially make a bigger dent in his 2009 ratings with an impressive finish at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. “I look forward to coming here every year and Tahiti is definitely one of my favorite stops on tour,” Hobgood said. “I’ve had a pretty good start to the year, but it’s going to take a lot to catch Joel (Parkinson) at this point. I’m hoping for a good result here.” Hobgood will take on Jay Thompson (AUS), 25, in Round 3 when competition resumes.

Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, was the only other American surfer to tackle the challenging Round 2 conditions on offer and fell to Australian Kieren Perrow (Byron Bay, AUS), 32, earning a 17th place finish overall.

Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, will open up his Billabong Pro campaign when he tackles Kai Otton (Sydney, AUS), 29, when competition resumes. Nine-time and defending ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 37, Santa Barbara talent Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, and Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 29, still await their Round 2 heats as well.

Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, leads Europe's ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) soldiers after nettin three consecutive high performance results in April that have rocketed him to No. 4 on the intrnational ratings.  Copyright: Aquashot/aspeurope.com
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Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 23, eliminated highly-touted American Dane Reynolds, 23, in Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Aranburu will face reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, in Round 2 when competition resumes.  Copyright: ASP/ CI/ ROBERTSON via GETTY IMAGES
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Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, current ASP World No. 7, netted the day’s high heat total of a 15.33 out of a possible 20 in Round 2 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.  Copyright: ASP/ CI/ SCHOLTZ via GETTY IMAGES
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Adam Melling.  Copyright: Oneill
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