Burrow Beats Slater to Billabong Pipeline Masters; Parkinson Claims Triple Crown

& $90,000 Winner’s Purse

Slater Places 2nd in his 14th Pipe Final

Joel Parkinson Wins $50,000 Vans Triple Crown Series Title

Contact: Jodi Wilmott
Satellite Feed details pending for TV.

PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, December 15, 2009) – After 11 years on the ASP World Tour, Australia’s Taj Burrow hit major pay dirt today in the Billabong Pipe Masters, winning $90,000 after taking down reigning and six-time Pipe Masters champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the final. This was Slater’s 14th final in his 19 years of competing here and Taj’s first.

Burrow, 31, received $40,000 from Billabong for the win, and an unprecedented $50,000 bonus from Vans, as well as a $10,000 custom Nixon watch and a hand-shaped surfboard trophy by Pipeline legend Gerry Lopez. The Billabong Pipe Masters is the third and final stop of the $1,000,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, and concludes an overwhelmingly successful big wave pro surfing season on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Australian Joel Parkinson, who three days ago lost his battle for the ASP world title with close friend Mick Fanning (Australia), sewed up his second consecutive Vans Triple Crown title and leaves Hawaii buoyed by the $50,000 Vans Triple Crown series bonus. The only person who could trump Parkinson was CJ Hobgood (Fl., USA), who lost in the quarter finals this-morning. CJ needed to reach the final to claim the Triple Crown.

Alana Blanchard
Above: Burrow in form early this morning before conditions deteriorated.
Credit: CESTARI/ASP/Getty Images

Equal third today after semi-final losses were Dane Reynolds (Ca., USA) and Dean Morrison (Australia). Equal fifth with quarter final losses were Damien and CJ Hobgood, Flynn Novak (Hawaii), and Bede Durbidge (Australia).

Burrow controlled the 35-minute final from start to finish, chipping away at the deteriorated conditions that favored high-performance, aerial maneuvers over the tube-riding that Pipeline is famous for. It was the type of light onshore, beach break conditions that Australians grow up playing in.

For Slater, 37, it was not a familiar Pipe scene. By the final 10-minute mark he was yet to score anything higher than a 3.17 ride and required a near-perfect score to catch up to Taj. Slater began to patrol the lineup like a shark hunting down a full meal, but was forced to make do with scraps. One short tube ride, well-finessed but short nonetheless, only netted him a 3.93 – his best wave score of the final. It was a major deviation from the 8.73 average wave score he carried into the final. The final two-wave totals had Taj on 12.83 points out of a possible 20. Slater ended with a total of 7.10.

“This is 100% as good as you can imagine,” said Taj on the podium. “I can’t believe I’m standing here right now. There’s been so much action this year on the North Shore and I’ve been watching Joel (Parkinson) and Mick (Fanning) going at it for the world title. It’s been really emotional and after they lost, the focus turned to me. It felt amazing to have everyone going for me.

“I could tell from the beach that it was a good idea to keep busy and even from this angle where the judges are the smaller ones look pretty good. I figured just punt, take a few, and let loose.”

Slater was less satisfied:

“I was kind of in two mind frames: sneak over, get the right wedges and get some turns, or go for the lefts that were longer and just surf ’em,” said Slater. “I couldn’t really decide where to go. I probably would’ve been better off just sticking to one way or the other, but that’s the way it goes. I’m happy though.”

The Vans Triple Crown series title came as major comfort for Parkinson:

“This is my consolation prize,” said Joel. “To me, the Triple Crown is the next best thing (to a world title). I’m over the moon. I’m really happy with what happened this year and I should be really proud of everything I’ve done. Vans stepped it up to a new level this winter with huge incentives and if they keep throwing that out, I’ll keep coming back.”

crowd beach

For all the Vans Triple Crown of highlights, videos, photos and more log on to:

Making the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink possible: Reef, O’Neill, Billabong, Gidget Worldwide, Nixon, Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaiian Airlines, JN Automotive Group, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, FUEL TV, The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaiian Springs Water, Road Runner, Climb On! chemical-free skincare, and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). The Series is proud to announce that it is working with local company Tr3ees to embark upon a greener, more sustainable future.

For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com

1ST – Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.83 points out of 20, $90,000
2ND – Kelly Slater (USA) 7.10 out of 20, $24,000

S1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.17 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 7.00
S2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.50 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.67

Q1: Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.00 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.17
Q2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.24 def. Flynn Novak (HAW) 13.87
Q3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.90 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.40
Q4: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.10 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 8.67