Wright Beats Slater at Rip Curl Pro Round 2
Owen Wright (AUS), 19, Rip Curl Pro wildcard, caused the upset of the event, eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro winner Kelly Slater (USA), 37, during Round 2 of competition.
The second stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach saw excellent surf on offer throughout the day as the world’s best surfers narrowed the competitive field down to the final 20.
“I am really happy,” Wright said. “It has been a long week waiting to surf against Kelly Slater. I have just been relishing it and waiting for it. Out there, I just stayed on my own game and really just concentrated on what I was doing. I just got the set waves and surfed them, then the ocean went flat at the end and I kept the win.”
“I’ll be taking a lot of confidence into my next heat,” Wright said. “I am just rapt with that heat and really happy to get one over Kelly Slater. There won’t be many chances like that one to come around.”
Slater displayed his patented mastery of the Bells bowl, sliding into barrels and smashing the lip on several occasions, but a failed exit on a double-barrel wave cost the Floridian the score needed. “It was reminiscent of a heat I had out here against Sunny Garcia in 2000,” Slater said. “I needed to come out of a second barrel to get through the heat and fell.
Sunny went on to win the event and the World Title. Which is pretty dooming I suppose. I didn’t see too much of Owen (Wright) surfing in the heat, but he did one big turn in front of me and I’ll have to watch the video later.”
The result marks the second equal 17th finish for Slater in 2009, making his campaign for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title much more difficult. “The magic hasn’t been there yet this season like it was last year,” Slater said. “However, I just have to remember that it’s early in the season and there’s a long way to go.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 21, current ASP World No. 1, dominated today’s conditions at Bells Beach, defeating 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, in Round 2. Parkinson unleashed a flurry of fluid carves and explosive lip maneuvers to secure the highest single-wave score of the day, a 9.23 out of a possible 10.
“There is nothing better than coming over the hill for Bells,” Parkinson said. “Especially when you know you have an early morning heat, a low tide, it’s offshore and it is 4-6 foot. It has probably only happened two to three times in my career so I will definitely remember this one for a while.”