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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Taj Burrow Knocks Off Julian Wilson to Claim the 2013 Hurley Pro

By Andrew Sachs
Aussie ripper Taj Burrow conquered an upset-filled field to win the 2013 Hurley Pro, defeating fellow mate Julian Wilson in the finals to claim the victory.  The Hurley Pro proved to be the most unpredictable event of the season so far, with neither of Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time in 2013.  Taj and Jordy Smith (semis) used their strong finishes to move up 1 place each in the overall rankings to 3 and 4, respectively, gaining some ground on Mick and Kelly at 1 and 2.

The competition really heated up in round 3.  First Pat Gudauskas, after already eliminating Fiji Pro champ Ace Buchan in round 2, took out Kelly Slater, the 3-time defending Hurley Pro champ.  Then Adam Melling sent fellow countryman and defending WCT champ Joel Parkinson packing.  The elimination of his two top competitors left a huge opening for Mick Fanning to gain some separation at the top of the overall standings, but he fell victim to Travis Logie in round 5.

Ultimately Taj, Jordy, Julian Wilson, and Michel Bourez mastered the shoulder to head high waves to reach the semifinals.  In semifinal 1, Taj jumped all over Jordy early in the heat, scoring a 9.3 and following that with up with a 6.5 for a combination that Jordy couldn't match.  In semifinal 2, Julian Wilson used priority to catch a wave late in the heat, sped down the line, and boosted a big air to claim a 8.9 that, with his earlier 8.5, was enough for him to advance to the final.  In a final that just didn't have the waves to match other competitions, Taj took down Julian to claim his first victory of 2013.