While most surf pundits in 2011 will remember a giant mathematical blunder, as well as the occasional questionable wave-score, let us not forget the superior heats from this year. From Kelly Slater handing Taj Burrow numerous heartbreaking losses, to the world’s best surfing waves of actual consequence, World Tour enthusiasts witnessed an array of great heats in 2011. Here are the 10 best:
1. Kelly Slater vs. Taj Burrow, Semifinals, Quiksilver Pro New York.
Sitting on a 9.07 with time dwindling away and Taj Burrow holding a convincing lead, Kelly Slater launched what critics claim is the best air-reverse ever pulled in competition to earn a perfect 10 and continue his reign as the dream-crusher.
2. Jeremy Flores vs. Michel Bourez, Round 5, Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Although he won the Pipe Masters in 2010, Jeremy Flores’ success in scary Teahupo’o came as a surprise to most. And no one could’ve predicted he’d become just the third surfer in ASP history to ever receive a perfect heat-score. Billabong’s heat analyzer system doesn’t allow embedding, so click the image below to watch the heat in its entirety.
3. Taj Burrow vs. Adriano de Souza, Round 5, Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
But he did the shotgun claim…that has to count for something, right? Apparently not if you’re Adriano de Souza facing Taj Burrow in front of a large Australian crowd. Tell us who you think the true victor was…
4. John John Florence vs. Kelly Slater, Quarterfinals, Billabong Pipe Masters.
After defeating his prior opponents with ease, John John again looked like he’d be cakewalking his way to a victory. That is until Florence made a rookie mistake, leaving the door open for Slater to keep John John’s Pipe Masters title on ice.
5. Joel Parkinson vs. Mick Fanning vs. Julian Wilson, Round 4, Hurley Pro at Lowers.
In a heat that featured style vs. speed vs. progression, it was style that debatably came out on top. We apologize, like the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Hurley doesn’t allow embedding for Hurley Pro heat videos (New Year’s resolution?), so click the image to view it on their site.
6. Mick Fanning vs. Joel Parkinson, Final, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. At one of surfing’s most iconic pointbreaks, Joel Parkinson and good friend Mick Fanning went blow-for-blow in epic Bells that ultimately resulted in Parko ringing the Bell.
7. Josh Kerr vs Kelly Slater vs Jadson Andre, Round 4, Quiksilver Pro New York.
In his post heat interview, Kelly Slater said Josh Kerr was probably the most dangerous surfer in the event after Kerr casually one-upped his alley-oop to send Slater and Andre into Round 5.
8. John John Florence vs. Kai Barger, Round 2, Billabong Pipe Masters. Surfing in his first-ever Pipe Masters heat as a World Tour competitor, John John did what most expected: carry the weight as the local favorite by earning a perfect 10 in triple-overhead Pipe.
9. Taj Burrow vs. Julian Wilson, Quarterfinals, Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
With Peniche delivering dreamy sand-bottom barrels, Julian Wilson asked and received a perfect 10, but in the end fell victim to Taj Burrow’s veteran experience.
10. Bobby Martinez vs. Taj Burrow, Round 2, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The heat that sparked the infamous Bobby Martinez quote, “He’s not Curren and I’m not Occy.” #BringBackBobby