Billy Stairmand claimed the Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic presented by Billabong 2010 title on Sunday. Billy claimed his maiden ASP Men’s Star-Series victory by defeating Pablo Paulino (BRA) in a tight, low scoring final. He becomes only the second Kiwi to take out the Pantin Classic after Maz Quinn won the title in 2005.
“I’m lost for words really,” said Billy after his win. “I came here with some really good boards and they have gone so good in these small waves. Perfect conditions for them and it has been a really fun week here in Pantin. I wasn’t really thinking about the conditions today. I was just taking it heat by heat and it worked out for me.”
Billy looked the firm favourite for the event as conditions stayed small for the final day of competition. Fast, smooth, flowing turns were Stairmand’s trademark manoeuvres as he defeated Pedro Henrique (BRA) in the quarter-finals, Nathaniel Curran (USA) in the semis and eventually took out Pablo Paulino (BRA) in the 35-minute final.
Trailing at the halfway mark Stairmand snuck under Paulino’s priority on a wave which eventually gave him the title.
“Pablo didn’t take that one and I paddled into it and the start was good. I managed to do two turns and then I milked it through to the shore and was lucky enough to get the score to just get on top of him,”
As the tide continued to rise, the final wave-starved minutes turned into a cat and mouse battle as Paulino searched in vain for the required score to take back the lead.
“I was so nervous,” commented Stairmand. “I was sitting on him the entire time and I caught some other waves but it didn’t rattle him at all and in the end no more waves came through so it was really good. The round of 24 in a 6-Star contest is the best I have ever done so to actually win a 6-Star is absolutely unbelievable, I just can’t believe it right now.”
Runner-up Pablo Paulino was also displaying some big turns in the small conditions to make his way to the final where his overall result is his best so far for 2010. Getting off to a solid start and looking like a clear winner Paulino went in search of another high scoring ride which never eventuated.
“The final didn’t have the same waves as in the semis and I was waiting for a wave but they never arrived. I am very happy with this result which is my biggest this year. I am not very high on the rankings and I have a lot of pressure on me so this result is for my sponsors too. My dream is to do one better in my next contest.”
“My boards are so good for small waves and today I surfed really well and I am happy to have taken out the big name surfers like Heitor (Alves) and Tom Boal. All the heats were so hard out there and to make the final is really great.”
Nathaniel Curran (USA), equal third, stormed through the quarter-finals ousting Sebastien Zietz (HAW) to gain an edge on the field with his crisp turns and speed through the slow flat sections of the waves. Coming unstuck against Stairmand in semi-final nÂº1, Curran was left with no options as the waves turned off during the final minutes of his heat.
“It looked like Billy was going on the shore break but the two waves he got definitely had something to work with and he got the scores. I sat out there waiting for a set but nothing came through in the end so not much I could do.”
“Billy is probably the lightest of everyone left in the event,” explained Curran. “He has this tiny little board which seems to go really well for him. We were out there and this one set came through but we were out of position so that really sealed the heat for me.”
Photo: ASP / Aquashot.