A huge upset kicks off round 3 at the Margaret River Pro.
Jack Freestone has taken the scalp of the greatest of all-time, 11x world champion, Kelly Slater in heat 1 of round 3 at the Margaret Rive Pro. In 12-15 foot monstrous, Hawaiian like conditions, Freestone dominated with superior positioning and wave selection.
Kelly looked awkward, uncharacteristically falling in critical sections, rushing and bogging his turns. His equipment and mindset will no doubt come under scrutiny after this loss. We know he hates early morning heats but this was a big moment for Kelly to put distance between his nearest rivals as he looks to secure his 12th world title.
Kelly got things going with a safety surfed 5.17, nursing his turns and no doubt feeling out his 6’6” banana board. Freestone’s 7.33 and 6.50 demonstrated the Australian was no one trick pony. His searing, surgical forehand wrap and layback snap dismembered the Mainbreak lip with style and authority.
Slater hit back with a 5.60 but it was his following 5.47 that showed Kelly’s age with an out of character bronco-ride finish. The 45-year-old tour veteran suddenly looked like he’d met his kryptonite. As the heat wound down the pair negotiated a 10-wave set that near closed out the bay. Freestone held onto priority and took the win and with jaws agape across the Surfers Point lookout, fans had just witnessed Kelly exit the event.
“It’s pretty good out there,” said an adrenalin fuelled Freestone to Barton Lynch after the win. “It was a hard morning because we were deliberating on The Box and Mainbreak.”
“It was amazing to surf against Kelly out there and get the win,” he added.
“I couldn’t hear anything out there. I knew I had priority and just there with two minutes to go. You couldn’t see anything because of the wind. One set that came through was at least 12-foot plus.”
Competition continues. Watch live here: