Globe International would like to congratulate team rider, and 2007 Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion, Damien Hobgood on his outstanding performance at Teahupoo. In solid 4-6 foot conditions, Damien defeated current World #1 Mick Fanning in a seesaw battle-complete with broken boards, lead changes and a last minute victory-to become the 2007 Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion.
This year, Damien went one better than his 2005 runner-up finish to Kelly Slater, in which he suffered a dislocated shoulder. Reflecting back on that heat Damien said, “It’s insane. I was stoked to have another chance at it. I feel that things happen for a reason and I did my best out here in 2005, and came up short. I replayed that wave in my mind a hundred times going, ‘I should have tried to stay in that barrel and not come out doggy-door,’ but I feel like I can put that out of my mind now.”
The final was one that will not be forgotten soon. Damien struck first with and 8.0, but Mick one-upped him with a huge 9.33. Under Damien’s priority, Mick backed up his score with a 6.87, leaving Damien in need of an 8.21 for the win. Damien took one big set, but it offered little scoring opportunity and he kicked out after a short barrel to retain priority. And then he sat, until nearly the last minute of the heat, when a set stood up on the reef and Damien’s chance had arrived. The deep long barrel fed him into a big swooping face turn and an 8.6 for the win.
Recollecting the final wave, Damien said, “I heard what I needed and I was thinking, ‘As long as it’s a set and it’s got what I’m looking for, I can get that easy.’ The waves were going kinda flat for most of the heat but there were some bombs coming toward the end and I was like, ‘One’s coming! One’s coming!’ A couple of ’em were too big. They just faded off the end. But even though there was only a minute left I always felt like I was in there with a chance, and that I would get to roll the dice one last time.”
With his performances over the last few years Damien has taken a statistical stranglehold on the ASP South Pacific leg (Tahiti and Fiji). Since winning his first WCT event in Fiji in 2004, Damien has made three additional finals in four events surfed, with two more wins, including this Tahiti this year. Five events surfed, four finals and three wins.
With the result Damien has jumped to #3 on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour behind fellow Globe team rider Taj Burrow (#2) and Fanning (#1).