After a hard-fought four days of surfing, Taj Burrow put the hammer down on fellow Aussie Julian Wilson to win the 2013 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif. It was the first win of the season for Burrow, and the 12th (and arguably the most decisive) tour win of his career.
"It feels so incredible when it actually unfolds," said Burrow. "I felt like all week the waves were coming my way, that I was really in the zone. It's something that I've really been wanting for a long time and it's just so amazing to have it all come together."
With Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson all bowing out of the event earlier than anticipated, the result moves Burrow to into the world title hunt, sitting at forth on the ASP World Title ratings after the Hurley Pro. For his part in it Wilson cracks the top 10, moving from 11th to 7th in the world.
After a high-energy exhibition of progressive surfing on day 3, Wilson maintained his momentum throughout the final day, peaking at the right time, but Burrow's more power-oriented approach clicked into another gear and proved to much to handle.
"The board that I had felt better and better, and I really hit my stride at the end, and that's what you want," said Burrow. "I've put a lot of effort in the last few weeks, but this has been heavy. The level of surfing has been off the charts."
While Burrow celebrated on the beach and in true Aussie fashion slipped in an "over the moon" reference, Wilson remained in the water, left to ponder what went wrong. When he returned to the competitor's area, looking dejected, he found comfort with his brother.
"It's a great result, I would have liked to go one better. I made some mistakes, lost my rhythm," said Wilson in a brief post heat interview. "I thought I could do something big on a smaller wave, so I wasn't really looking for the bigger set waves, but it never came together. I have to just keep moving on."
Enroute to the final Burrow battled through an fiery Adriano De Souza in Round 5, then edged out local hero Pat Gudauskas in the quarters and Jordy Smith in the semis.
On the other side of the draw, Wilson came out strong against Josh Kerr in the quarters and dropped the hammer in the semis against his longtime friend Michel Bourez in the semis.
As for the world title race, Burrow gets himself back in the mix, while the Hurley Pro proved to be more of a wash for Slater, Fanning and Parkinson. Fanning moves into the top spot in the ratings with three events remaining this season. Up next the tour moves to Hossegor for the Quiksilver Pro France, followed by the Rip Curl Pro Portugal before ending in Hawaii with the Billabong Pipeline Masters. Based on how things are shaping up, the world title will most probably be decided in Hawaiian waters once again.
The Hurley Pro airs on ESPN2 on Sept. 25 at 10:00 pm EST and on ABC on Sept 29 at 5:00 pm EST, don't miss it.
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES FINAL RESULT:
1. Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.07
2. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.97
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.83 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.10
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.40 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.43
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.67 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.33
QF 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.93 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.70
QF 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.90 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.00
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.64 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.04
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 11.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.83
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.60 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.47
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.23 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.74
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.10 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 12.93
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 10:
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 41,900 points
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 40,700 points
3. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,700 points
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 35,400 points
5. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 32,450 points
6. Josh Kerr (AUS) 29,600 points
7. Julian Wilson (AUS) 28,850 points
8. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 27,500 points
9. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 27,200 points
10. Michel Bourez (PYF) 26,500 points
10. Nat Young (USA) 26,500 points