High Drama and Big Upsets at Billabong Pro Tahiti

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Caption: Injury wildcard Aritz Aranburu (ESP) upset three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning today, eliminating his from the competition in equal 13th place.
Image: WSL / Steve Robertson[/caption] After three attempts and three falls Brazilian Filipe Toledo (BRA) seemed to find his feet in the opening heat of Round 3. Current No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard went on to find three barrels with a clean exit to build a 16.97 heat total and take the win over Brett Simpson (USA). Simpson, who is currently at 36th place on the rankings and in need of a series of strong results to re-qualify for 2016, is eliminated in equal 13th place while Toledo heads to Round 4. “In my last heat I don’t think I was in the right place,” Toledo. “This heat I tried to get deeper but I fell on the first few waves so I tried to slow down. Finally I feel like I’m in Tahiti – the sun has come out and I got some barrels. I’m just trying to enjoy things, have fun and not think about the world title to much.” Two nine-point rides from Owen Wright (AUS) gave him a decisive win over Dusty Payne (HAW) in Round 3 Heat 3. The Australian, who is currently in fifth place on the Jeep Leaderboard, looked in sync with the ocean, finding the best waves and dominating the lineup. Payne meanwhile, at 35th on the rankings, goes home with a disappointing place 13th despite a great performance and a strong heat total of his own. “The heats I’ve had against Dusty (Payne) have all been tough,” said Wright. “I feel for him but I’m stoked to get through the early Rounds. Last year in that size I was probably a bit manic and I noticed that Kelly (Slater) and John John (Florence) were picking the eyes out of it, which I think comes with experience so I wanted to spend more time here. I’ve definitely learnt a lot. I’ve put one competition together this year and I’d love to do that again. I’m working on my consistency and hopefully that takes me where I want to go, to the top.” Kai Otton (AUS) along with Brazilian rookies Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) also won through their Round 3 heats to advance to Round 4. When competition resumes, up first will be Josh Kerr (AUS) and Adrian Buchan (AUS) in Heat 9 of Round 3. Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 7 a.m. to assess conditions and make a call for competition. The Billabong Pro Tahiti runs from Friday, August 14 to Tuesday, August 25, 2015 and is webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeauge.com and via the WSL mobile app]]>

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