So my time in Tahiti has come to an end. The end of the contest is nowhere in sight and I have to get back to my everyday life and haul my ass back to work. If me sitting here at the airport with a good buzz is any indication of anything, I would say that today was yet another kick ass day in paradise. I woke up today with the hope that they would run the contest. Being my last day here and all, I wanted to sit out at Chopes with the excitement that comes with being at a WCT event. However, once I stepped outside and saw the drop in swell I pretty much knew that the contest would be called off. To my surprise, even though all reports were claiming that Teahupo‘o was small and inconsistent, the event organizers decided to put the contest on-hold until 11am. It’s funny what a difference being at the event site makes a when a contest is put on hold. I know that whenever I’m at home and the contest is put on hold I’m stoked at the possibility that it may run, but being here knowing the waves aren’t going to improve makes the waiting game a little different. With no option but to sit and wait, the boys tried to fill the four hours until the next call with some of the everyday activities that go on around here. While the Teahupo‘o competition hasn’t started, we have a few in-house contest going on that help pass the time. If you were to walk around our house you would notice that phones are constantly passed from one surfer to another with games like Word mole, scrabble, paper toss and checkers being played.
Watch the Billabong Pro Tahiti live at billabongpro.com
The main topic of conversation today is James Toney. On our downtime we’ve been downloading some of Toney’s interviews and the guy is freaking hysterical. Matter of fact we all find him so funny that we walk around yelling Toney quotes like, “Freak show? The only freak show I know is between my legs, ese.”
Above: Some very TransWorld-ish moments when interviews go awry…
After the contest was called off for the day, we hung out and watched some movies. With all reports coming back saying that there weren’t any waves we all walked around not knowing what the hell to do with ourselves. I don’t remember who it was but someone came back to the house saying that Mick Fanning and Taylor Knox had gone to the spot where Bobby and I surfed yesterday and managed to swim up to, and touch a whale. Stoked on the possibility that they’d get to touch a whale the boys in our house rallied and got a boat ready to go see if they could do the same. Bobby and I were the only two that brought boards hoping that we’d score—and score we did!
While the boys snorkeled around checking out the sea life, Bobby and I surfed a chest high left all to ourselves. I was sore from yesterday’s session but, being my last day here I paddled for as many waves as I could. After about an hour of surfing by ourselves, 3 boats made their way over and we boarded up and got out of there. Once back at the house everyone was psyching on the UFC fight, so after a couple of beer runs we crammed ourselves in a mini delivery truck and made our way over to the competitors area at the marina. Hanging out at the marina was pretty epic. The vibe was like that of a fight-party back in the States except we were outdoors. We had a bunch of homies gathered around one screen with everyone drinking beers, yelling at the TV and clowning on each other. The Toney fight turned out to be pretty worthless but the BJ Penn fight was pretty sick with Frankie Edgar taking it in a unanimous decision.
After the fight we had dinner, drank more beers and I packed my stuff up to go home. This trip was definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever been on and I’m stoked to have been invited; and to think I said no at first! What the hell is wrong with me? I’d like to end my last blog by thanking my homie Bobby for talking shit to me for hours and convincing me to come along. Gracias ese, you’ve hooked me up once again and I’m beyond grateful. To the boys back at the house, I don’t know if you’ll read this but you guys were super chill and I’ll see you again at a comp real soon. And to the ASP (not that any of them would ever scope my blog out): If you’re going to run the contest with less then stellar Teahupo‘o cancel the cutoff and save it for another year. These guys work super hard and to send them home after what looks to be a small-wave plagued contest would be pretty shitty on your part. If Mick Fanning can do average in the first half of the year and turn it around to win the world championship like last year, why not give these guys a chance? Oh yeah one last thing, if the waves don’t show up as expected I’d appreciate it if you would just copy and paste last years results. I’m pretty sure things would have worked out with the same person on the winners podium so just go ahead and do it…no bias…really—Manny Raya
Above: The aptly named “Island Time” daily update with Ronnie Blakey and Joe Turpel.