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2002 Results : Kennelly Defeats Beachley In Teahupoo Final

Author: ASP World Tour

Teahupoo, Tahiti (Sunday, May 12 2002) Keala Kennelly (Haw) today defeated four-time world and defending event champion Layne Beachley (Aus) to win the 2002 Billabong Pro Teahupoo. In doing so, she claimed her third event title at the notorious reef break and US$10,000. The year's third World Championship Tournament (WCT) commenced this morning with round three, running right through to the grand finale.

Waves remained 4-6ft (1.3-2m) throughout the day, but the west direction of the swell reated dangerous conditions for the world's top rated women to deal with, resulting in numerous injuries.

Kennelly, 23, who first won a World Qualifying Series (WQS) tournament at Teahupoo in 1998, and then a WCT here in 2000, today dominated another final for the trifecta. With her father looking on from the channel, the Hawaiian lead from the outset of the 35-minute decider, posted the best single wave score of the entire tournament for a near-perfect 9.8, and ultimately left her opponent requiring a combination of rides worth 14.51-points. She also moved to fifth on the current ratings.

"This is my favorite event, just for the wave," began Kennelly, back on land surrounded by media and admiring Tahitians. "I just always want to come back here because it's a world class wave and really challenging for everybody.

"It was super dangerous and everybody is covered with cuts," she continued, herself sporting a few reminders of the razor sharp reef. "Most of the barrels today were not makeable, so it was really hard.

"I took off and started pushing through it and was hoping it would open up for me," she explained of her epic tube ride. "When it opened I was so surprised, and really lucky. For me, this is the one event all year I really want to win, more than anybody. That's my motivation. This is Teahupoo, the contest I'm supposed to win (laughs)."

Beachley, 29, secured her best result this year to move back into world title contention. While the final was fairly one-sided in Kennelly's favor, she achieved the main goal she set herself leading into the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.

"If there's anyone that deserved to win the event it was Keala," acknowledged Beachley afterward. "She charges harder than any other girl out here, and harder than half the guy sometimes. I'm stoked to see her almost get a 10, and for me, if there's any better time to have a shocker it's the final (laughs). She got the better waves and surfed a way better heat than I did.

"That was the idea coming here," she added, of moving up the ratings. "At least I have another three events to count at the end of the year. I'm stoked I'm back in contention. There was a lot of pressure and expectation on me leading into this event and I just put all that aside and went out and surfed and did my best."

Equal third today were current ratings leader Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) and four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA). The Australian bowing out to eventual winner Kennelly after the Hawaiian found more winning barrel rides in their exchange.

Official results of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo Women 2002
1st Keala Kennelly (Haw) 22.9 - US$10,000
2nd Layne Beachley (Aus) 11.6 - US$6,000
Semifinals (defeated finish =3rd and receive US$4,000)
SF1: Keala Kennelly (Haw) 15.15 def. Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 11.0
SF2: Layne Beachley (Aus) 14.0 def. Lisa Andersen (USA) 13.5

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