Kelly Slater Is 2016 Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion

Image Source: WSL

Image Source: WSL

Teahupo’o, Tahiti, Kelly Slater Wins Billabong Pro Tahiti in a stylish fashion defeating newly crowned Jeepney Leaderboard World No.1 John John Florence in the super heat of the finals.

John John Florence got the ball rolling with his 8.00 tube ride. Slater answered back with a 9.77 tube ride of his own. Florence immediately got the lead back with another 7.23 ride to put pressure on the veteran.

But Slater was not easy to beat, he backed up his score with a tube ride and a little floater to earn an 8.57 putting Florence in a combination situation needing 18.35 to snatch the lead back with less that 20 minutes left in the final.

Florence took off on a wave that has exploded, wiping him out and stopping his attempt to get a great wave score where he earned only a meager 2.17 and he was left with about 13 minutes to catch up with the clock winding down fast.

Image Source: WSL

Image Source: WSL

Right after Florence’s failed attempt, Kelly slater took off on the next wave where he landed on the flats and it was almost not possible to get back under the lip successfully. But Kelly had more magic up in his sleeves and was able to navigate his way through the tube and successfully exited on the spit earning him a 9.17 with just about 11 minutes to go. By this time John John needed 18.95 to win.

At the 6 minute mark, Florence made another attempt and rode a barrel but was not able to come out successfully and he earned a 3.13. Slater took off on the next wave and had an almost perfect tube ride earning him a higher 9.90 score just when everyone though he was already done. That seals Slater’s win with just about 3 and a half minutes left in the finals and Florence needing a 19.68 combo to catch up.

Florence was unable to catch any wave after that and Slater added another 3.83 and
7.40 to his wave scores. But his top two scores of 9.90 and 9.77 were enough to win the event this year.

Image Source: WSL

Image Source: WSL

This win will put kelly slater back in Top 10, something he has been able to maintain in 23 years of his career. He climbed 11 ranks up the Jeep Leader Board from rank 19 to rank 8.

Kelly is back into the World Championship Tour and is stronger than ever.

Its highly notable that Kelly has changed back to more traditional equipment, which he rode on his way to winning the finals. His board had a very low entry rocker, a little tail rocker, a very traditional style of thruster setup allowing him more stability which surely worked for him in difficult situations during the finals. Does this spell the end for the banana board?

Image Source: WSL

Image Source: WSL

Watch Kelly’s Road to the finals below:

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