Billabong Team Rider Bede “Durbo” Durbidge, has upstaged seven times world champion Kelly Slater to take out the Boost Mobile Pro in California. In his first ever World Championship Tour (WCT) win, the 23 year-old Aussie was on fire, ousting Andy Irons, Taj Burrow and local favourite Chris Ward on his way to the final in fun 3-4ft waves at Trestles.
Always a threat in any style of open faced wave, Durbo let his surfing do the talking from the opening heat of the event, using a mixture of powerful top turns and seemingly impossible punts to topple the biggest names in the sport. Throughout the day he disposed of some of surfing’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).
Given his form and reputation it was almost expected that Slater would dominate the 30-minute showdown held at Lower Trestles in California, yet today he met his match in 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.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Durbidge. “It’s the best year of my life! 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 Kelly 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!”
“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.”
Finishing in equal third were Burrow and Australia’s Dean Morrison, who was a standout in the earlier rounds.
After being arguably the form surfer of the event and a huge crowd favorite, Burrow’s roll was ended at the hands of Durbidge when he failed to complete the few quality waves he caught with his usual 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.”
With four events reamining on the tour, the next stop will be the Quiksilver Pro France, held in Hossegor from September 22 to October 1. It’s sure to be a fierce contest – at present in the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour ratings Slater still holds the lead with Burrow and Irons hotly contesting in second and third.
Current ASP world tour scorboard:
- 1. Kelly Slater 6141
- 2. Taj Burrow 5558
- 3. Andy Irons 4965
- 4. Bobby Martinez 4643
- 5. Taylor Knox 4470
- 6. Joel Parkinson 4384