Martinez set to defend title in Tahiti

Bobby Martinez begins his title defense of the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Thursday. (Kirstin Scholtz/ASP Photo)

Santa Barbara’s Bobby Martinez is in eighth place in the ASP World Title Rankings heading into the start of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, which Martinez won last year. It’s the fifth stop on the World Tour, marking the half-way point of the season.

Martinez started the year off with semifinal appearances in the first two events, followed by two consecutive equal-17ths in Brazil and South Africa. With six World Tour contests remaining, Martinez is still in the hunt for his first World Title but does not want to get ahead of himself.

“Nothing is on my mind other than trying my best in the next event,” Martinez told the ASP. “There’s no point in thinking ahead of yourself. Every contest holds your hopes of winning a World Title so you’ve got to do the best in each contest or else there is no chance at all.”

It’s been South African Jordy Smith who has been in top form this year. The 22-year-old has found a groove in his third year on the World Tour, most recently capturing a championship in his home country at Jeffreys Bay. Smith has two 5th places and a 2nd to go with his 1st on the season.

First-round heats begin on Thursday. Watch the Webcast here.

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