After teasing us all with the quarter finals out at The Box, finals day was shaping to be an epic one for the ASP World Tour in Western Australia. The swell turned up, the wind was offshore, but mother nature was not going to co-operate, and the final three rounds had to be held at the less exciting main break.
Despite the fact that the swell direction was off and the sets inconsistent, the excitement that was lost by not running it at the right hand slab, was replaced by the competitors vying for the crown. It was obvious in the heats that two guys were dialled in, Australian Josh Kerr and Tahitian Michel Bourez, better known as The Spartan.
Kerr beat the current world tour leader Gabriel Medina comfortably in the second quarter final to set up a meeting with Bede Durbidge. Michel Bourez outclassed last years rookie of the year, Nat Young in his to meet Kelly Slater.
Kerr got off to a solid start in the first semi, and had Durbidge chasing his tail for the whole heat. Despite Bede notching up two solid sevens Kerr’s high eight, and the fact that he could do it again on the right wave, meant although the final scores were close, the difference in performance levels were far greater.
Semi two was one where everyone just thought it was Slaters, a 6.33 followed by an 8.83 in the first two exchanges put Slater in a commanding position. But The Spartan looked dangerous and with seven minutes to go needing a 9.13 he unleashed against the smart surfing Slater. The first two turns on what was a mid sized wave were massive, he was rewarded with 9.37 eliminating the multiple world champ.
So to the final, and whatever happened we were going to have a first time event winner. Neither Kerr nor Bourez had won a ‘CT event and it spiced up an already exciting contest. Kerr seemingly had the advantage out at Main Break but The Spartan had the momentum. Having disposed of Slater he was on fire, he soon had two solid scores on the table and Kerr was playing a game of catchup he was never going to win.
So Tahiti got it’s first ever WCT event champion, and Michel Bourez, a man who has been in or on the edge of the top ten in the world for the last couple of years has announced his world title credentials. Now with just three days to the Rip Curl Pro at Bell’s Beach, it could be an incredible time to start building some title momentum.