HUNTINGTON BEACH, California - Stop No. 3 of 10 on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
World Tour had an exciting finish to competition after several lay-days
and saw California talent Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, take
top honors for the second time at the Billabong Pro Tahiti when he
surfed a near-flawless 18.46 out of 20 heat against fellow finalist Taj
Burrow (Yallingup, AUS), 30, to claim the win.
Martinez proved to be unstoppable throughout the event’s entirety, topping an amazing crop of talent on the way to his fourth elite ASP World Tour victory by utilizing his impressive forehand barrel riding skills to oust the competition.
“I feel great and a bit emotional,” Martinez said. “I feel wonderful. I waited for the good ones out there and just got lucky. There weren’t too many waves and I was lucky enough to get a couple of good ones and not fall. Things just seemed to work out for me today. I really don’t know what to say. It feels really special.”
In addition to defeating several of the world’s finest competitive surfers including three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI), 30, event dark horse Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, EUK), 23, and current ASP World No. 5 Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22, Martinez managed to achieve the feat on borrowed equipment after breaking all of his personal boards.
“I actually borrowed a board from Alain Riou (local Tahitian surfer),” Martinez said. “He rides Darren Handley shapes and the board was the same dimensions and pretty much the same board I ride. It was great to find that as yesterday, I was a bit skeptical about today in terms of the conditions and my equipment, but everything worked out perfectly.”
Martinez now sits in seventh overall on the ASP World Tour after his Billabong Pro Tahiti victory.
Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, donated his best performance of the year when he ousted current ASP World No. 1 Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, AUS), 27, on the way to a fifth place finish. Knox jumped out to an early lead before solidifying the win with a second solid score to defeat the Australian talent and the solid result launches him in to the No. 10 position overall amongst the world’s finest.
“It was one of those heats where we were jockeying for position,” Knox said. “I got a 6 and then it went flat. Joel (Parkinson) was tired of waiting and used his priority on a wave that didn’t offer much. Then that really good one came through and I was in position for it. I really thought there were going to be more waves in that heat and that I’d need more than a 6 in my score line, but that’s the way it worked out. I won my heat so I’m stoked and will go home happy now.”
C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, who is a constant threat at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, was one to watch again this year when he worked through to a fifth place finish. Hobgood’s dominating forehand barrel riding skills helped him earn a victory at Teahupoo in the past, and he was a standout again at this year’s event.
“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.”
CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10:
1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 3000 points
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 2318 points
3 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 2208 points
4 – C.J. Hobgood (USA) 2196 points
5 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 2174 points
6 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 2076 points
7 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 2025 points
8 – Tom Whitaker (AUS) 1932 points
9 – Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 1886 points
10 – Kieren Perrow (AUS) 1742 points
10 – Taylor Knox (USA) 1742 points
10 – Damien Hobgood (USA) 1742 points