A far cry from last year’s display of power and beauty, Teahupoo greeted the world’s best surfers Thursday with tame conditions on the opening day of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
What started out last week as a promising swell forecast was quickly downgraded to bleak at best, forcing contest directors to run day 1 in windy and shifty 4- to 6-foot surf, a stark contrast to what the surfers and fans had prepared for.
Long lulls, tricky conditions, and three-man heats made for some lopsided affairs where only one surfer was able to get into rhythm. Of the twelve round 1 heats that ran today, only two heats were decided by fewer than two points, and they were heats where none of the three surfers could find a solid score. Heat 2 saw Taj Burrow beat Damien Hobgood 11.77 to 11.23, and heat 10 saw Heitor Alves beat Matt Wilkinson with a measly 9.50 to 9.46.
As mediocre as the waves were today, the forecast looks even worse for tomorrow, so the call was made to run the first two heats of round 2 today, where Jordy Smith suffered a shocker at the hands of back-to-back trials winner Ricardo Dos Santos, and Mick Fanning beat out Alain Riou.
As the current pulse of swell is expected to fade out over the weekend, the event is expected to resume at 7:30 a.m. Friday local time.