12 surfers fall from ASP World Tour roster at Billabong Pro Tahiti
That's because of a new format in place this year which will reduce the roster from 45 to 32 surfers after this event, No. 5 on the ASP World Tour.
Twelve of the 13 were decided Tuesday on clean 3- to 4-foot waves during the completion of Round 2 and the first 12 heats of Round 3 at Teahupoo.
Surfers missing the cut include two Southern Californians -- San Clemente's Nate Yeomans and Tanner Gudauskas. Gudauskas was ousted after a Round 2 defeat by Hawaii's Andy Irons and Yeomans lost in Round 3 to Adrian Buchan of Australia.
"It was a tough heat," Gudauskas said. "There’s not a lot coming in and when you get a guy like Andy, you have to be on your game. Today wasn’t my day. It [being on tour] has made us push as hard as we can. No easy days. We’ve gone as best we can and we’ll just keep trying to go."
The 12 surfers cut from the ASP World Tour after Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 or 3 losses are: Drew Courtney (AUS), 31; Neco Padaratz (BRA), 34; Gudauskas (San Clemente), 22; Mick Campbell (AUS), 34; Kieren Perrow (AUS), 33; Tom Whitaker (AUS), 30; Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 25; Blake Thornton (AUS), 25; Dean Morrison (AUS), 29; Jay Thompson (AUS), 28; Yeomans (San Clemente), 29, and Ben Dunn (AUS), 24.
Other tournament action Tuesday saw the loss of No. 1-ranked Jordy Smith to local Tahitian wild card Manoa Drollet, who caused the upset of the day by eliminating the 22-year-old South African in Round 3.
Despite the loss, Smith remained gracious in defeat and positive as he transitions to the next event, the Hurley Pro Trestles, in California later this month.
"It was pretty tough out there,” Smith said. "Wave-starved a bit and difficult to find the right one. I got an average one in the beginning and then cut my hand on the reef. Some heats go like that. You live and learn, and I’m looking forward to the next one at Trestles."
Immediately following Smith’s ousting, nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater scored a sensational come-from-behind victory to overtake dangerous wild card Heiarii Williams, 23, of Tahiti. Needing a major score with moments remaining, Slater failed to emerge from an excellent wave, only to paddle straight into another impressive barrel to secure the 8.80 and the win.
"I knew what he was going to do from the beginning," Slater, 38, said. "He and Manoa [Drollet] have the same game plan: Be patient and they know the wave better than anyone. He was going to play it smart; he did that in the first heat too. I had a couple of average waves before getting an OK one. I took one at the end, probably the best wave of the heat, and I got too greedy and fell. When I came out, there was one that popped up right away and I was fortunate to get it."
With his Round 3 victory, Slater moves from No. 3 to No. 2 in the hunt for his tenth ASP World Title, but the Floridian is pragmatic when discussing his campaign this season.
"If the roles were reversed from J-Bay to here and I won out here, then we’d be right back where we [Smith and I] were before the last one," Slater said. 'It’s especially hard when you go out early and someone else goes to win a contest, like in J-Bay. We’re at the halfway point this season so we haven’t even been dropping results yet so I’m not super focused on it yet. I’ve actually been more focused on my buddies on the bubble. It’s a bummer to see some of them go."
Event organizers will reconvene Wednesday morning to assess conditions for a possible 6:30 a.m. (local time) start.
When competition resumes, up first will be reigning ASP World Champion and current No. 6-ranked Mick Fanning, Australia, up against wild card Tamaroa McComb of Tahiti in Heat 13 of Round 3.
Billabong Pro Tahiti remaining Round 2 results:
Heat 7: Jay Thompson (AUS) 14.50 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 7.77
Heat 8: Chris Davidson (AUS) 9.77 def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 8.60
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.50 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 7.00
Heat 10: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.06 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 5.20
Heat 11: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.44 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 14.40
Heat 12: Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.16 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 6.33
Heat 13: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.20 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 10.74
Heat 14: Dean Morrsion (AUS) 17.23 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.10
Heat 15: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.83 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 10.17
Heat 16: Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.77 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.93
Round 3 results:
Heat 1: Dane Reynolds (USA) 18.00 def. Blake Thornton (AUS) 12.67
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.84 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 4.37
Heat 3: Tiago Pires (PRT) 16.03 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 15.66
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 11.00
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.33 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 2.17
Heat 6: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 18.50 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.07
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.87 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 5.07
Heat 8: Manoa Drollet (PYF) 15.10 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.36
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.73 def. Heiarii Williams (PYF) 15.64
Heat 10: Adam Melling (AUS) 17.83 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 6.84
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.13 def. Nate Yeomans (USA) 15.77
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.17 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 4.50
Remaining Round 3 match-ups:
Heat 13: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tamaroa McComb (PYF)
Heat 14: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 15: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 16: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
-- Kelly Burgess