Billabong Pro - JBay

16 Jul 2007 0 Share

Luke Stedman (Aus) will take on 8x world champion Kelly Slater (USA) in round four of the Billabong Pro - JBay

Luke Stedman (Aus) will take on 8x world champion Kelly Slater (USA) in round four of the Billabong Pro - JBay

Eight-time Foster’s ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) made the most of the meager waves on offer to advance to Round 4 of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay today. Only five heats of Round 3 were completed before inconsistent conditions forced officials to put the remaining two heats of the round on hold.

Slater beat rookie Luke Munro (AUS) 17.00 to 12.33 in Heat13. Munro was given a small window of opportunity to change the situation but came up short.

“Luke [Munro] most likely could have got ahead of me on his last good ride, he only needed to better a 4.40, but I did have the advantage with an 8.00,” Slater said. “He basically just needed to match that and put a little pressure on me. Had he done that, the last wave I caught would have been more nerve racking.

Slater scored a 9.00 out of 10.00 points on his last scoring ride. Munro caught the wave behind Slater’s but needed a combination of excellent scoring rides to eliminate his friend at that point.

“I knew there were only one-wave sets out there and I took off and I didn’t look behind to see if there was anything else – I just guessed there wasn’t,” Slater said. “But then I heard the commentator saying, ‘Oh there is something behind this,’ ‘Luke is glad he went on this.’ It wasn’t enough but it is tough surfing against one of your best friends – it is always kind of bitter sweet.”

Slater will surf against Luke Stedman (AUS) in Round 4.

“Luke [Stedman] is probably the most improved guy on tour over the last couple of years,” Slater said. “He just ends up always getting on the good waves and doing the right thing in heats. He is a really tough competitor. He is a guy you don’t always expect to do as well as his results speak, but if he comes out firing he’ll put you against the ropes real quick. You have got to be really careful of a guy like that.”

Stedman beat Mick Campbell (AUS) in a wave starved heat to advance to Round 4.

“Very slow, that was about the heat in general,” Stedman said. “My surfing was slow too. Only two waves came through and I was fortunate enough to get them. Mick just had nothing and that was the heat.”

Also advancing today was California’s Bobby Martinez (USA). Martinez was named 2006 ASP Rookie of the Year after tying Mick Fanning (AUS) for the highest-ever rookie finish last year – 5th in the world. Currently sitting equal 17th after making the Quarterfinals at the last event in Chile, Martinez appears to be back on track after a slow start to the year.

“I don’t know why things went how they did last year and things are going the way they are this year, but maybe that is just the way it is supposed to be for me,” Martinez said. “It is definitely different – there are sleepless nights, I’m stressed out… I dream about it because I want to be here next year. I’m trying my best because I don’t want it to end early. It is definitely different than last year for me, so it has been pretty difficult. Everything is a learning curve.”

Martinez will meet Dean Morrison (AUS), who beat Bernardo Miranda (BRA) today, in Round 4. Fred Patacchia (HAW) eliminated Chris Ward (USA) this afternoon and will surf against fellow Hawaiian Andy Irons in the next round.

“I think it is going to be fun, we haven’t had a man on man heat since I’ve been on tour,” Patacchia said. “I think it will be a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, a lot of serious paddle battles, just for fun, just to do it, and I am looking forward to it. It is not everyday you get to surf against a world champion.”

Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow at 7am. The final two heats of Round 3, eight heats of Round 4, plus the Quarters, Semis and Final are yet to come.

Visit the media center on www.aspworldtour.com for transcribed athlete interviews, downloadable wav files, hi-res images, heat by heat updates and more.

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