Tom Whitaker takes out World No 1 Surfer Kelly Slater at Drug Aware Pro
Oakley’s Tom Whitaker caused the upset of the 2012 Telstra Drug Aware Pro by eliminating the 11 x ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in the first round of man-on-man competition; the same Round Slater was eliminated in last year by our young surfer Billy Stairmand. Whitaker surfed a strong and smart heat, catching the best waves and surfing them to his maximum potential.
“There’s only one strategy to have against Kelly,” Whitaker said. “You’ve got to wait for the best waves and surf to your strengths, because he can catch tiny waves and turn them into 9-point-rides. When you surf against Kelly there’s almost less pressure, because he’s meant to flog you. You just go out there and surf hard.”
Slater was quick to pass praise onto Whitaker and acknowledge that falling early in the heat proved costly.
“90 percent of the time you can expect Tom (Whitaker) to be on the best waves of the heat,” Slater said. “I had my chances. On my opening ride I fell on my last manoeuvre and if I didn’t I would have gotten a 9. I had a feeling that falling off would come into play later in the heat, because I knew Tom was going to get a good set and put himself in a good position.”