Cape Town - South Africa’s Jordy Smith has moved to the top of the World Surf
League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) rankings after posting a career-best
third place finish in the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Sunday.
According to the SASCOC website, the 28-year-old Durbanite, who started
the event ranked No 3, recorded hard-fought victories over Conner Coffin
(USA) and reigning WSL champion John John Florence of Hawaii on the final
day before losing out to eventual winner, Julian Wilson of Australia in
their semi-final encounter.
‘I’m still learning a lot and I wish I had figured it out earlier in
the event,’ Smith said.
‘I am stoked to be in the top spot. Obviously,
it’s a long way to go, but it’s sick to be in the front there. This is a
new year and I just want to bring something new, something fresh, and
keep trying my hardest.’
Smith will be eager to keep his lead over the world’s best surfers
and improve his World Title campaign at the next event, the Hurley Pro
at Trestles, which is close to his adopted home town of San Clemente in
California and where he’s also the defending event winner.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti was won by Wilson who defeated Brazil’s
Gabriel Medina in the final held in 1.5-2 metre waves at the fabled
break of Teahupo’o to clinch his third CT victory and best result in
Tahiti. The victory moves Wilson up from 8th to 5th place on the Jeep
Leaderboard heading into Trestles.
‘It’s been a few years,’ said Wilson.
‘It’s so special to win. I am
ecstatic and I have nothing left in me. I am just so happy and relieved
to finally win an event again. It took so many good waves to win this
event and I was lucky enough to get those. I was already enjoying myself
on tour and even more so now. I cannot wait for the rest of the year.’
The exciting final saw an all-out battle between Medina and Wilson.
The Brazilian took the lead with an incredible 17.87 combined score
including a near-perfect 9.20 and an excellent 8.67. Wilson was stuck in
a combination situation and needed two new scores with time running out
but he fought back with a critical 8.10 and an outstanding 9.23. Still
trailing by 1.09 points, Wilson found his way out of a deep tube to earn
a near-perfect 9.73 for the win in the dying minutes of the clash.
The next stop on the 2017 World Surf League Championship Tour will be
the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro which run from September 6-17 at
Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California.