Tahitian wildcard Michel Bourez helped Kelly Slater a step closer to the World Title by eliminating Bede Durbidge of Australia at the Quiksilver Pro France yesterday.
Bourez beat Association of Surfing Professionals World No. 3 Durbidge by opening with a 9.80 ride and followed it with a 9.77, leaving Durbidge searching for 19.57 points to swing the tide, states a release from Surfersvillage Global News.
“The heat was really good,” Bourez said. “There were a couple of really good rights and lefts out there, but the rip was really strong and I needed to catch the first wave. I got that first left but didn’t know it was a 9.80. I thought it was just an 8.00 and then, I got that 9.77 after so I’m stoked.”
Slater is now two steps closer to the ASP World Title No. 9 following the day’s events. According to the Surfersvillage release, the scenario coming into the event was should Durbidge bow out before the final and ASP World No. 2 Taj Burrow be eliminated before the semifinals, he would win the 2008 title in France.
Durbidge is out. Slater is into Round 4 after winning a come-from-behind tough heat over wildcard Joan Duru of France where Slater found a pair of 8.00s late in the heat.
Slater could potentially win the title today, but knows that winning the event and watching Burrow lose in Round 4 are both best-case scenarios.
“I’d like to do it here, but I don’t expect that is going to happen,” Slater said. “Taj looks good.”
Burrow beat injury replacement wildcare Gabe King of the U.S. in Round 3 yesterday, and with the ASP World Title so close to being a done deal, Burrow has his eyes on a different goal — winning the Quiksilver Pro France.
“The title is pretty much decided so I’m just looking to win events,” Burrow said. “I’ve come close to winning a couple of events this year, so I would like to take this one out. That’s all I’m really thinking about. It is cool to be sitting second and keeping Kelly on his toes.”
Bourez is currently rated 14th on the ASP World Qualifying Series. After eliminating Slater at this event last year, and then outside hopefuls for the 2008 ASP World Title this week, Bourez appears to have the skills to mix it up with the world’s best.
“It doesn’t feel too good to be interfering with the title because those guys are here to win, and I’m just here to beat those guys,” Bourez said. “Hopefully, I’ll be here to beat those guys next year. I’m just in this event to prove myself and surf good waves.”
The Quiksilver Pro France is expected to continue today.
For more information, visit the ASP Tour Web site at www.asptour.com.