All hail Billy the Kid
THE Association of Surfing Professionals Prime-rated Telstra Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River – held in howling onshore winds and rain squalls the previous day – got underway with a gentle offshore breeze and sunshine for yesterday’s competition.
With the swell still in the 8- to 10-foot range, the stage was set for a great day of competition.
New Zealander Billy Stairmand is now a hero to all Kiwi surf fans and his fellow competitors after the 21-year-old beat the great Kelly Slater in their round of 24 clash.
“I wasn’t expecting anything,” said an elated Billy.
“I just wanted to go out and have fun and make the most of having a man-on-man heat with Kelly Slater. Now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been – I feel like I won the contest!”
Kelly was clearly disappointed with his early exit, but the ultimate competitor knows that losing is just a part competing.
“You’re gonna lose heats,” he said.
“No matter how good you’re doing, at some point a bad heat comes along and for me it was today.”
Young Frenchman, Marc Lacomare sent his Margaret River roommate, Aritz Aranburu, packing in the round of 24 battle.
Both surfers held the lead throughout the heat, but it was Lacomare who got the nod.
“I took a long time to catch my first wave,” said Marc.
“I only caught two waves in the heat, but I guess that’s all you need. It’s not easy out there, but it’s fun when you get them.”
The clear standout performers of the day were local lads Taj Burrow and Yadin Nicol along with Sunshine Coast surfer Julian Wilson.
They dominated their heats and put their local knowledge to work heading into the last day of competition.
Taj was particularly impressive posting a perfect 10-point ride late in the day.
Both the men’s and women’s finals are expected to run today as the swell is expected to die by tomorrow.