The Gentle Assassin: Bede Durbidge beats Andy, Taj and Kelly to Win the Boost Mobile Pro Presented by Hurley

posted by / News / September 16, 2006

EVENTS HELD: Round 4 to Finals
CONDITIONS: 2-4 feet, glassy early, trashed later
NATURE’S CALL: Looking big in France.
PREDICTIONS: Turning into a two horse race.


Bede Durbidge doesn’t say much. When he does, he speaks softly and slowly, with a rural Queensland drawl. He always seems to be in the same mood – never gets excited, nervous, or upset. He’s probably the easiest guy on tour to underestimate because he flies far under the radar. So how can a guy so quiet, so unassuming so…nice leave one of the heaviest trails of blood in the history of pro surfing? Seriously, how does a guy who couldn’t even re-qualify last year (more on that later) take down Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow and Andy Irons – top three surfers in the world -in one day to win an event in the middle of a title race?

The answer? “Bede doesn’t get rattled,” Kelly said before meeting him in the final. “That’s his secret.”

There it is. The pressure was on today and the guy who earned the win was the one stayed cool. Andy Irons didn’t. He was the first to go. Bede got him by taking an early lead and holding on to it. With conditions looking more like a blown out beachbreak than a classic point, a frustrated Andy couldn’t find the 5.79 he needed and went down hard. With seconds to go in the heat, a huge powerboat entered the lineup and powered right at him. It was a full-on “Caddyshack” moment with the driver finally realizing his idiocy and turning away. Andy then got a wave right at the horn but it didn’t offer him much of anything. At this crucial stage of the tour, a 9th place finish was definitely not the result he was looking for as he’s now nearly 1200 points behind Kelly – a tough lead to come back from with only four events remaining. In protest, he hurled his board fifteen feet into a fence right in front of the crowd. A woman working at the event screamed in fright as the fins whistled by her. Then he lashed out at a cameraman filming him as he showered. “Go film someone else!” he yelled. “Go film the winner.”

After disposing of Chris Ward in the quarters, Taj was the next big name Bede’s list. Taj had been looking like the form surfer of the event and his 18 point quarter final performance was one of the best ever seen in junk surf. But the semis were a different story. Slater called this one too saying before it on camera that he believed Taj had peaked too early. In the semi, Bede stuck to his game plan – getting scores early and building on them while Taj paddled aimlessly around the lineup and couldn’t find a wave with a work-able wall. How bad was it? Towards the event of the heat Bede had him combo-ed.

After the heat, Taj’s reaction was different than Andy’s but no less pained. Usually one to surf an expression session and then gleefully cheer on a fellow Aussie in a final with a can of Foster’s in hand, today Taj just sat there while silently and dejectedly reflecting on what happened. Then he simply packed up his stuff and left.

Finally, it was Kelly’s turn to fall. He’d been the smartest competitor all week – surfing well but not dominantly. He had a nail biter against Shaun Cansdell early, but soundly beat Parko and Dean Morrison in the quarters and semis. In the final though, he seemed to fall apart. Kelly had a narrow lead and, while holding priority, he let Bede into an inside wave that he turned into a 7.3. After that Kelly looked like he was out of gas – finally showing that it’s harder to surf four heats in a day when you’re 35 than it is when you’re 23.


Backstage, fellow Queenslanders Parko and Fanning were over the moon to see {{{Jimmy}}} Slade finally go down in a final to one of their boys. They were especially stoked considering Bede’s win came at the same event where Kelly won a controversial decision over an Aussie last year.

And Kelly’s reaction to Bede’s big victory?


Stoked.

Seriously. Bede’s the guy who beat him at Phillip Island in 2005 and he later said that the loss was the first step for him in turning it all around. He loves this big kid and is happy to have him on tour. And really, the tour flat out needs to have events won by underdogs. One of the last times that happened was back in 2003 when Richie Lovett scored an unexpected scalp here. And that’s where the story really gets weird. Richie was back this year. Recovering from the partial amputation of his hip due to a rare form of cancer, he surfed in the Expression Session today. He had to give up his seed on tour this year to fight for his life. So he was just happy to be here and to be alive. He was also proud to see his spot go to a guy who tried hard last year, but just barely missed re-qualifying. A guy who surfed really well and who everybody liked.

A guy named Bede Durbidge.

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