THE 2003 BILLABONG PRO MUNDAKA: FINAL DAY

posted by / News / October 24, 2003

Surf: 3 feet and blown
Events held: Semis and Final
Nature’s call:Don’t mess with KS

Predicted:Taj Burrow wins BrazilKelly Slater has not only just finished blasting through about eight herniated disc-slipping backhand snaps to win this, his first ever Billabong Mundaka Pro, but it’s also his third win of this madhouse WCT season. Even more telling, it’s enough to finally push him 180 points ahead of world champ, Andy Irons, in this year’s race for the crown. Taking a bottle of Chandon in one hand and a black marker in the other, he bends down to sign his oversized check for a cool 30 Gs, where below his name he scrawls a new nickname he’s made for himself. The total signature reads: “Kelly Slater AKA: YUNOMI.” “My Japanese name,” he chuckles with a kids smile.”You Know Me.” Had anyone present not known the real Kelly Slater, then he certainly changed that today. Mick Fanning probably wasn’t one of those people as he was the first one out this morning, when the air was somewhere around 40 degrees and the waves destitute of even average form. No, no — Mick Fanning was very aware of what he’d come up against for semifinal number one.It should be said that Mick Fanning is an incredible surfer in his own right; he’s an agile, slinking Molotov, proving every bit of that today. Only Kelly Slater is every bit of that and more. “He was already up late last night, crunching the numbers,” said friend and board caddy, Tim {{{Fox}}}. “He’ll win this thing simply because he wants it more than anyone else.”

Of course, Taj Burrow would’ve disagreed. Viewing that first semi from one eye, while getting ready for hard-carver Nathan Hedge, Taj hadn’t seemed all that impressed. “Yeah, Fanning’s wave was better; Kelly’s wave was slow,” he observed, pulling up his wettie between one certain exchange. “But, come on, Taj, you’re cheering for Kelly, aren’t you?” your correspondent asked. “Are you kidding me?” He belted back, startled. Obviously, this was no time for sarcasm. No time indeed; if Kelly Slater could only make this heat, then once again he’d be on top of the world for the first time in four years. And all he needed was a small score, when one of the cleaner waves all morning came his way. “Here comes his eight,” rang out Quiksilver Europe’s, Steven Bell, to make sure no one would miss this: A big crack, to spry snap, to vert wap! Fanning surely heard when the score came in — 8.0. “Back on your leash,” lashed Bell at Darren Handley (Fanning’s shaper), whom, as turns out, had shared with Bell a wager of AUD$1000 AUD on the winner of that very heat. It didn’t look good for Handley, especially when the now-leading Slater paddled Fanning out of position and down the point. So, who should be betting against Slater?

Right now there are probably only two surfers in the world who could, and one of them was back on the island of Kauai after a first-round loss. The other one, Taj, just barely got past a close one with Nathan Hedge to meet who is, once again, the best competitive surfer in the world. It’s something Slater proved in their final today, and in a very cruel way. With the earlier mentioned disc-smashing backhand hacks, it looked as though he let TB get out to a strong lead, just so he could destroy him at the end. It really did look that way, and feel that way — and Taj knew it. When on the victor’s stand, the immense young talent could hardly even look the champ in the eye, saying, “Thanks, and congratulations to Kelly,” (While under his breath), “And I hope to beat him next time.”And it is good to dream big. Kelly does. Back in our opening moment, Kelly Slater is elated, sauntering about in his white wetsuit, toasting anyone who might care with his big green bottle of champagne. It’s very obvious how this new crew wants to beat him; Fanning, for instance, didn’t even show up at the awards, and the veteran appears to be enjoying it all in great measure. “So I hear Handley’s buying dinner tonight,” showing that he’d known of the bet all along. Everyone can’t help but burst into laughter. Raising his Foster’s, Nathan Hedge calms the air with a question to the man. “So, what’dya think Andy’s doing right now?” Kelly’s eyes become huge, and he motions with his fingers like someone anxiously scanning the Internet. The room bursts into hysterics. Raising his bottle, he tries to explain, “When he lost he was telling people that I’d win.”And the worst thing happened — you and TB both made the final,” adds Hedge.Kelly’s smile grows again, forcing his eyes to bulge. “How’s that,” he nods, passing the bottle. “A prophecy.”– Hagan Kelley Billabong Pro Mundaka Final Results
1st Kelly Slater (USA) 16.63 – US$30,000
2nd Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.1 – US$16,000Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$10,000)
SF1: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.8 def. Mick Fanning (Aus) 13.27
SF2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 13.1 def. Nathan Hedge (Aus) 12.5
Current Top 10 Ratings After Billabong Pro Mundaka – WCT #9/12
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 7,428
2. Andy Irons (Haw) 7,{{{240}}}
3. Taj Burrow (Aus) 7,020
4. Mick Fanning (Aus) 6,528
5. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 6,{{{300}}}
6. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 6,036
7. Taylor Knox (USA) 5,412
8. Mick Lowe (Aus) 5,388
9. Dean Morrison (Aus) 5,340
10. Daniel Wills (Aus) 5,112

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