Australian Bede Durbidge secured his second Foster’s ASP World Tour win and the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing Series title with a victory at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, the 10th and final event on the 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour, today.
Durbidge posted 16.67 points out of 20.00 to finish first in the four-man final over Dean Morrison (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) respectively. The new ASP ‘Dual Heats’ format was used from Round 2 through the Quarterfinals and conditions at Pipeline, Backdoor and Off the Wall – the breaks within the contest zone today –were small and in the three-foot (one metre) range.
“I’m absolutely over the moon right now,” Durbidge said. “Obviously the conditions weren’t classic Pipeline, but the competition was still pretty intense. We had the new dual heat format and a lot of guys were on the bubble for qualification so there were a lot of hungry guys out there in this event. I’ve just tried to keep a cool head all season whether it be with sponsors or freesurfing or heats and that was really my approach out there today. I’m absolutely stoked. It’s a great way for me to finish the season and I’m looking to go even better in 2008.”
Durbidge, who started the season unsponsored and financing his own way around the world, won US$30,000 in cash, a limited edition $25,000 Chevy Colorado truck and a custom $10,000 Nixon watch today. He is the first Australian to win the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title since Mike Rommesle did so in 1997. With the exception of American Kelly Slater who claimed the Triple Crown Title in 1998, a Hawaiian has taken top honors ever since.
“Winning the Triple Crown has been a dream of mine for a long, long time and I’ve always felt like proving yourself in Hawaii is right up there with winning the World Title,” Durbidge said. “It’s a great thing for surfing that the locals let us come here and enjoy these waves and that the sponsors put up the prize money for us to really come away well here.”
Durbidge’s year end rating is World No. 5. He scored one of the highest single wave scores of the event, 9.50 out of 10.00, to run away with an unassailable lead in the Final.
“Yeah, there weren’t too many waves coming through during the final and all four of us were pretty clumped together,” Durbdige said. “The other three kind of paddled each other out of position and I ended up being in the spot. The wave had a really good wall on it and I was able to get a few pretty good turns in. I guess the judges liked it and I got the score. It really put everyone else on the ropes out there.”
Morrison finished inside the Top 10 at World No. 9 with his 2nd place result at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.
“I don’t think any of us expected that Pipe would go down like this when we packed our bags for Hawaii,” Morrison said. “It really did end up being more of a maneuver event rather than a barrel-riding event, and I was stoked to make it through to my first final of the year. Congratulations to Bede – he was absolutely ripping all day.”
Also making his first final of the year was Parkinson who finished the year World No. 4 with his 3rd place result today.
“I haven’t made a final all year, so it’s good to finish up with one even in waves like this,” Parkinson said. “We all wanted it to be eight foot perfect Pipe, but you can’t get that every year.”
Sullivan, the only Hawaiian in the final four was pleased to cap off his season with a result. He finished his 2007 season with a personal best World No. 7 finish today – a far cry from his narrow requalification last year.
“Everyone wants to win Pipe, and I’m pretty happy that I made the final,” Sullivan said. “Last year, I had a bit of a shocker and didn’t do as well as I thought I could have. I was super focused today and I’m really pleased that I made it through.”
Taj Burrow’s (AUS) equal 5th result today secured him the third ASP World Title runner-up finish of his nine year elite tour career. He was beat by Durbidge in the Quarterfinals.
“Yea, it’s an okay result, but I’m really bummed I didn’t make the final,” Burrow said. “Bede (Durbidge) was just on fire though. I’m stoked to finish the year strong and I’m excited to get home and re-focus for 2008.”
Earning their spots on the 2008 ASP World Tour with their performances today were Bruce Irons (HAW) and Fred Patacchia. Both sat outside the Top 27 surfers who automatically requalify for the following year before making their heats today.
“To make the cut with the waves being below average, it’s just a treat,” Patacchia said. “I really didn’t want to be on the WQS so I’m really stoked right now knowing I’ve just qualified for the tour next year. It’s really stressful waking up at 6am each morning, not knowing if it’s going to be your last day surfing on the tour. I was ready to swallow my pride and compete on the WQS, because I feel like my career has at least a couple more good years on it but I really feel like I’m World Tour material.”
Full-time 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour sufers who failed to qualify for the 2008 ASP World Tour are Greg Emslie (ZAF), Cory Lopez (USA), Phil Macdonald (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Troy Brooks (AUS), Bernardo Miranda (BRA), Gabe Kling (USA), Shaun Cansdell (AUS), Victor Ribas (BRA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA) and retirees Mark Occhilupo (AUS) and Mick Lowe (AUS).
Ben Dunn (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA) and Travis Logie (ZAF) also finished outside of the Top 27, but citing injuries, have applied for wildcard berths onto the 2008 ASP World Tour – their spots are not yet confirmed.
Qualifying for the 2008 ASP World Tour via the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) are Adriano de Souza (BRA), Dayyan Neve (AUS) and Luke Munro (AUS).
The ASP World Tour will now break until February when the 2008 tour kicks off on the Gold Coast of Australia. For more details visit the media center on www.aspworldtour.com.