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.
After 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.
It has been an action-packed month of April around the world with no less than one ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star, two 6-Star and two 6-Star Prime rated events putting the international ratings upside down and kicking-off another race that promises to bring world class level this year again.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti has been forced to take a series of lay days due to small surf in Teahupoo.
Water, waves and wind: Check out our surfing videos. We have collected tons of free surf videos and clips for you!
The Billabong Pro Tahiti navigated challenging weather patterns Wednesday in Teahupoo, completing eight heats amidst varying wind and swell conditions.
In fading evening light, but clean glassy solid six to eight foot Thurso East, Adam Melling raised the highland sword above his head as the winner of the Cold Water Classic Scotland 2009.