Slater Eliminates Kemper, Zietz Earns Triple Crown
By Rodney S. Yap
Maui’s Billy Kemper posted the second best losing score in round 3 — a 15.50 — as a result of having to battle 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in Sunday’s action of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
Slater, 40, current ASP WCT No. 2, used his experience to navigate both Pipeline and Backdoor en route to a 18.63 score out of a possible 20. Slater earned the day’s highest heat total in his victory over wildcard Kemper of Paia.
“It drives you nuts when you’re in the event and the waves are so good on the opening day,” Slater said. “Backdoor got a little better today because the swell got a little more north, but last night was A-plus Pipe and everyone knew about it. There are really good waves out there. We were scrapping to get anything going and I just got in sync. Billy (Kemper) and I were scrapping for sure and he let me know he wanted to win that heat as bad as I did.”
Meanwhile, Kauai surfer Sebastian Zietz won the 2012 Vans Triple Crown Title of Surfing by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Pipe Masters.
Zietz, 24, posted the first major win of his five-year pro surfing career at the REEF Hawaiian Pro on Nov. 24 to qualify for the 2013 elite ASP World Tour. Five days ago, the Garden Island surfer made history, becoming one of the few surfers to ever make back-to-back finals in 30 years of the Vans Triple Crown. Zietz finished third at the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, behind winner Adam Melling of Australia and runner-up Gabriel Medina of Brazil.
With surf firing in the 6- to 8-foot range Sunday, the stage was set for Zietz, who wasted little time in knocking off defending Vans Triple Crown champion John John Florence in round 3 — 15.00 to 7.83.
By advancing to Round 4 Zietz was awarded a record $100,000 bonus in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the series, a $30,000 Harley Davidson, a $10,000 custom Nixon watch and was hydrated by Vitaminwater.
“I kind of wasn’t ready for it,” Zietz said. “John John is my favorite surfer at the moment. He missed that first one and I got priority from him. He was looking at Backdoor, so I knew it must have been good. I saw him fall on that last one and it was lucky for me and unlucky for John. I’m still focused on the contest, this all hasn’t really sunk in yet and I’ll celebrate everything after it’s over. But beating John John I feel like I can beat anyone.”
Zietz would continue to dominate his opponents by claiming round 4 wins over Damien Hobgood and Dane Reynolds, advancing directly to the quarterfinals.
The ASP World Title Race drama continued Sunday as Slater, Joel Parkinson of Australia and Mick Fanning of Australia put on a show in the classic Pipeline conditions while battling for their respective rights to win the coveted Billabong Pipe Masters.
Slater, who is currently in contention for an unprecedented 12th ASP World Title, stressed the importance of focusing on each heat at the Billabong Pipe Masters rather than the distractions that come along with the ASP World Title Race.
“We’ve had enough time to think about it,” Slater said. “We’re all processing it in our different ways. Mick (Fanning) is probably the most relaxed because he’s a long shot. He knows what he has to do, he needs to win heats, whereas if I make it through the next heat then Parko (Joel Parkinson) has to beat me, but Joel and I aren’t going to come up against each other unless we’re in the final. If you’re thinking about that during your heat, you’re not thinking about what’s going on in the water. You have to be clear minded from all of that stuff.”
Parkinson, 31, current ASP WCT No. 1, improved his chances of clinching a maiden ASP World Title, taking a round 3 win over deadly wildcard Kalani Chapman with textbook barrels at Backdoor.
“It’s good to get in the water and start the game,” Parkinson said. “It was torture watching yesterday, but it’s a nervous frustration. You’ve got to scramble at the start and stay patient at the end. I tried to get a couple of early ones and then wait. I got folded on a crazy left and then found that perfect drainer on the right. Backdoor can offer the best section to lay one over and it had the perfect part to lay one over. It felt so good to do that.”
Parkinson would go onto blitz his afternoon round 4 bout, advancing directly to the quarterfinals, while Slater is expected to contest his round 4 heat when competition resumes today.
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 4: Shane Dorian (HAW) 13.77 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.10
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.60 def. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 12.76
Heat 6: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.73 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.17
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.66 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.90
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.47 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 3.83
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.33 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.12
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 7.83
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.83
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.83 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.16 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.17
Heat 5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.60 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.87
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.17 def. Kalani Chapman (HAW) 13.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.06
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.13 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 17.13
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.63 def. Billy Kemper (HAW) 15.50
Heat 10: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.66
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.83 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.10
Heat 12: Shane Dorian (HAW) 15.67 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.40, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.96
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.83
REMAINING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 MATCH UPS:
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Shane Dorian (HAW)