Bobby Martinez Wins The 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti

The Game Needed This
Bobby Martinez wins the Billabong Pro Teahupo'o while Kelly and Parko fall early
By Jed Smith

Conditions: 3 to 5 of and reasonably consistent.
Events Held: The final day of the Billabong Pro Tahiti
Nature's Call: Whilst the wind was a little funked, it was still the most consistent surf we'd seen all contest. Plus it was still barreling.
Prediction: An apt crescendo to the never-ending contest.

When the final day of the Billabong pro dawned to the distant hiss of four foot barrels along the Teahupoo reef, tour commentators could be heard collectively uttering three words – "that… Mexican… guy."

Bobby's performances throughout the lay off period had bordered on preternatural. After every free surf adventure to Teahupoo or a surrounding reef, a deluge of clips and images of the Santa Barbaran would pour through the tour's Macbooks. It was obvious Bobby had a level of control over his speed in the barrel unmatched by anyone on tour. In one spasm he would jet from near stationary through an oncoming section before squeaking out the end. He was like a character in a surfing video game. (Section looms, hold down X – Section looms, hold down X).

As it has done over and over again, Teahupoo cut a swathe through the tour's title contenders. By mid morning on the final day, Parko, Slater, Fanning, the Hobgoods and Bede were all gone. Replaced by two unlikely semi-finalists.

In what developed as a pattern, those who had surfed feverishly during the lay off period continued to progress. Mick Campbell had spent his time on Tahiti in solitude. He would eat alone, stay alone, and twice a day pack his boards into his hatchback rental and head east or west along the coast, to surf alone. After fixing his back up board to a floating buoy, Mick Campbell paddled out for his semi-final and lost to Taj.

Aritz Aranburu was another loner. Most nights he could be found walking home alone having spent the past hour or on his Facebook or Skype account. He had surfed Teahupoo almost exclusively in the lead up, a fact vividly demonstrated by his far superior wave selection. Aritz would lose to Bobby in the other semi. But not before putting the American through a nasty scare, before being comboed in the final minutes by a foul succession of Bobby barrels.

Whilst the final was mathematically close (Bobby 18.46 – Taj 16.10), the contest was over within five minutes. Bobby's first two waves were an 8.7 and a 9.7. It was the highest combined total of the contest and a combo situation from which Taj would never emerge.

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1 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 18.46
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10

SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.86 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 10.00
SF 2: Bobby Martinez (USA) 17.17 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 15.23

QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.33 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.06
QF 2: Mick Campbell (AUS) 12.84 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.17
QF 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.93 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67
QF 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.66 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.66

Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.17 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 10.16
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.{{{57}}} def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.67
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.56 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.16
Heat 8: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.43 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.40

1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 3000 points
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 2318 points
3 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 2208 points
4 – C.J. Hobgood (USA) 2196 points
5 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 2174 points
6 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 2076 points
7 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 2025 points
8 – Tom Whitaker (AUS) 1932 points
9 – Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 1886 points
10 – Kieren Perrow (AUS) 1742 points
10 – Taylor Knox (USA) 1742 points
10 – Damien Hobgood (USA) 1742 points