SAN CLEMENTE, California (September 16, 2006) – Rank outsider Bede Durbidge (AUS) has shocked the sporting world with an amazing win in the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley, held at Lower Trestles in California.
In what was his very first Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour final, the lanky naturalfooter who hails from Queensland, Australia’s Gold Coast, upset seven-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA).
From the outset he surfed the event with utmost maturity not letting his more seasoned rivals’ status get the better of him. Along the way he disposed of some of the sport’s biggest names including, three time world champion Andy Irons (HAW), local favorite Chris Ward (USA) and currently ranked world number two Taj Burrow (AUS).
But given his form and reputation it was almost expected that Slater would dominate the 30-minute showdown, yet today he met his match in the 23-year-old Durbidge who, after blasting some huge open face carves mixed with some quality aerial turns, came home strong late in the heat to claim the trophy.
For Durbidge, who was seeded into this year’s tour as an alternate after former Boost Mobile Pro winner Richie Lovett (AUS) withdrew for the year due to a major illness, the win was by far and wide the ultimate highlight of his two-year top tour career.
He even went so far to say that this year in total has been the best year of his life.
"It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” cheered Durbidge. “It’s the best year of my life! I’ve proposed to my fiancé Taryn and I’ve won my first event and everything’s just happened for me this year!
"I’m pretty much blown away but I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I’ve had the potential to win,” Durbidge continued. “I knew the crowd was going to hype it up and I knew that if he (Kelly Slater) got anywhere near it, he was going to get it. I was just praying that no waves would come to him and it all happened for me."
The result has launched Durbidge into the highly touted top 10 on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, a position that he hopes to maintain.
"It was a really crucial comp for me on many fronts,” said Durbidge “It’s actually changed my thinking. My goals for this year have changed. I want to be top-10 now!"
Durbidge also acknowledged Lovett’s situation as being motivation for him to win today.
"I wouldn’t even be in this event if it wasn’t for Richie [Lovett],” said Durbidge. “And I feel for him so much. It’s a freak thing that happened to him and I had a second chance at making this year’s tour because of him and he’s the nicest guy. I gave him a big hug when I came in and he congratulated me and I said ’thanks so much.’ He was a previous winner here too and that’s what all the boys were saying before I paddled out, ‘well Rich could do it, you can do it.’"
Earlier in the season Slater was singing Durbidge’s praises stating that he was sometimes quite intimidated by his surfing.
“You can’t count Bede [Durbidge] out,” said Slater today. “He’s a tough competitor and he’s only a two year pro on the tour but he’s like a seasoned vet because he just doesn’t show his emotions when he’s surfing. You don’t hear him get frustrated or too excited. He’s very calm and gets the job done."
Speaking on the final Slater attributed poor tactics from him as being the catalyst for his loss, but in the scheme of the tour ratings he was happy to claim the result.
"The whole final went down to where I had priority and I let him go on the first wave of a set,” said Slater. “He got the 7.3 and had I got the 7.3, I would have been leading at that point. I would have actually been in the game.
“I’m happy to make the final,” said Slater. “I’ve looked at the points already. I know what the points are and where we stand. Realistically, Taj and I aren’t that far apart. One slip up by me and Taj can jump right past me. If both of us slip up, we can let Andy (Irons) right back in the door.
Finishing in equal third was Australia’s Dean Morrison who was a standout in the earlier rounds.
Unfortunately in the first semifinal Slater had his measure as he struggled to find a decent wave.
Morrison was still analyzing the situation and couldn’t see how he could have done any more to defeat the current ratings leader.
“It’s kind of hard to judge,” said Morrison. “I just waited and there wasn’t much that could have been done I don’t think. Maybe had I gone on some other waves in that heat I might have done better but I knew I had to wait to get the good ones... but I don’t know.”
The third place finish is a “keeper” for Morrison and he’ll use the confidence gained here to launch a full on assault on the next Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour event in France.
"Even after I lost that heat I just put it behind me,” said Morrison. “ When you look at it the scheme of things I still got a good result and I’ll look forward to France."
For Burrow, the result was a big disappointment. His hopes of meeting Slater in the final in a rematch situation of the first tour event this year held on the Gold Coast, Australia, were dashed.
After being arguably the form surfer of the event and a huge crowd favorite, his roll was ended at the hands of Durbidge when he failed to complete the few quality waves he caught with his usual mind blowing flair.
"It was hard. I’m devastated,” said Burrow. “I did everything wrong and Bede [Durbidge] did everything right. He waited and got that one good wave and got the job done. I panicked and there were hardly any waves that allowed you to get any turns in. I’m just devastated. I’m so bummed. I wish I’d just calmed down and tried to pick those ones – there’s not many so you have to be selective.”
Burrow was desperate for an event win so he could stay in touch with Slater hence the emotional scenes of slapping the water with frustration when his semi was completed.
"It’s not often that I’m angry with third but it’s all about winning,” said a determined Burrow. “It’s especially tough too when Kelly’s in the final and in form. But then again it’s better than Kelly winning and me getting last so I’ll just have to move on to the next one."
The “next one” is of course the Quiksilver Pro France, held at the very scenic Hossegor in the country’s south from September 22 to October 1.
Looking at the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour ratings Slater still holds the lead with Burrow and Irons hotly contesting in second and third.
The win for Durbidge has seen him jump into the top 10.
See full ratings below.
For all the athlete quotes, audio downloads, TV feed details and heat-by-heat reports head to the media centre of www.aspworldtour.com or www.boostmobilepro.com
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.17 def. Danny Wills (AUS) 11.17
Heat 2: Dean Morrison (AUS) 12.50 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.00
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.14 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 15.67
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.60 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 15.33
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.06 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 10.70
Heat 6: Chris Ward (AUS) 14.83 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.50
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.73 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 9.23
Heat 8: Victor Ribas (BRA) 13.83 def. Phil Macdonald (AUS) 13.10
Quarterfinal 1: Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.50 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.67
Quarterfinal 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.13 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.44
Quarterfinal 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.83 def. Chris Ward (USA) 13.27
Quarterfinal 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.10 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 9.84
Semifinal 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.10 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 7.74
Semifinal 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.00 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 8.67
Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.83 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.84
Current Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour top 10 ratings after event number seven:
1. Kelly Slater 6141
2. Taj Burrow 5558
3. Andy Irons 4965
4. Bobby Martinez 4643
5. Taylor Knox 4470
6. Joel Parkinson 4384
7. Damien Hobgood 4367
8. Mick Fanning 4309
9. Tim Reyes 4175
10. Bede Durbidge 3939