Friday May 12: Billabong Pro Teahupo’o Update

Teahupo’o, Tahiti

My new office kicks ass: I’m sitting on the main scaffolding at Teahupo’o right now watching Danny Fuller combo Australian Darren O’Rafferty. Being a magazine guy, I’m supposed to be un-biased, but to hell with that, GO FULLER! At this point he’s looking like a lock to go to the quarterfinals where he’ll meet up with Fred Patacchia, Bruce Irons, Dean Morrison, Taylor Knox, Kelly Slater, and WCT rookie Bobby Martinez (who’s been surfing amazing!). An interesting sidebar is that Fuller is perhaps the first person ever to ride a quad (4 fins) in a WCT event. His Stretch quad is flying through barrels what looks like unmakeable sections. I gotta get one of those.

Yesterday was another magic day at Havae Passe or Teahupo’o as it’s more commonly known as. Fred Patacchia and Damien Hobgood had one of the best heats of the day with set after set rolling through and the two goofy footers pushing each other to see who could ride the foam ball the longest. Fred pulled off the victory by a slim margin after losing his cool midway through the heat when he felt he was underscored. Slapping the water and screaming at the judges, Fred’s caddy, Dustin Barca, talked him down. “I just told him, ‘Fred, this heat is yours brah, relax and do it!’ Barca’s turned out to be the supercaddy as everyone he doe it for seems to excel.

Yes, you read that subtitle correctly, Andy Irons has been eliminated. Yesterday against Dean Morrison the three times World Champ what looked to be the winning ride with 10 seconds to go, but the judges felt otherwise and he got a 9.5 instead of a 9.7 that he needed. Dean was congratulating AI in the channel when it was announced that Andy had lost. Everyone in the channel thought the announcer had made a mistake, but he repeated the scores and AI was taken out at Chopes for the second time in two years by Dean Morrison. To his credit, Andy had what has been deemed the best claim ever seen; a 12 gauge shotgun double pump that he blasted Dean with, but it was all for not and Andy is out.

Today, the women will wrap up and the call to finish the mens will be made later. Stay tuned to or for the live Web cast.

Many thanks to Billabong, Air Tahiti Nui, the Maoni family, and the Tahitian Tourism Board