Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
Foster’s Men’s World Tour.
Women’s ASP World Championship Tour.
Teahupoo, Tahiti, May 5th – 17th, 2005.
Billabong Pro Tahiti Men’s May 5-17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti Girl’s May 5-15th
NO swell at Teahupoo has placed the Billabong Pro Tahiti on hold for the past threedays, serving as perfect recovery time for Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly (Kauai) whosuffered a nasty head gash on day one of the ASP women’s World Championship Tour(WCT) event last Thursday.
After becoming the first female to tow into Teahupoo in the 4m (12-15ft)swell early last week, the 27-year-old Kauian adopted the tactics of riding toalmost dry reef on inside waves, rather than wait for the sparse 4-6′ sets in herround one heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Her persistence in that desperation resulted in the reef eventually biting back onher second last wave, the gutsy goofy-footer splitting her head on the sharp coralheads and requiring seven staples to a gaping wound.
After first being checked by Californian doctor Sarah May on the event’s commandboat, Kennelly was patched up by on-ground medical staff at the event site on thepoint. The doctors and paramedics there had to remove several pieces of coral fromthe gash before closing it with staples.
Despite her injury, Kennelly refused to abandon her quest for a fourth Billabong ProTeahupoo victory and powered through both her second and third round heats to securea quarter-final berth against reigning world and 2004 Billabong Pro Tahiti championSofia Mulanovich (Peru).
“Any extra days I can spend out of the water resting and away from any chance ofinfection is obviously to my advantage, said Kennelly.
“I would like to surf the event in good waves rather than just run it incrap, continued Kennelly.
Organizers and surfers alike had presumed that the swell would maintain on thesecond day of the event waiting period, and that the women’s event would beconcluded swiftly, but increased winds and diminished swell at dawn last Friday sawthe event cancelled for the day. That was definitely to Keala’s benefit.
“I felt like I had been hit by a train the day after! revealed Kennelly today. “Ithought they were going to run the event on the second day, and I was thinking aboutpreparing for warrior mode again and psyching up, but luckily it got called off.”
“Keala actually looks terrific, commented Doctor May after checking Kennelly’scondition this morning.
“So far it looks better than we could have ever hoped for. The real nitty gritty isgoing to be in a couple of days when the infection will start showing up. We arejust going to have to cross our fingers, keep it clean and hope for the best.”
Under normal circumstances, a person who had incurred an injury like Kennelly’swould not even dream of going near the water, let alone paddle out to courageouslysurf one of the world’s most dangerous reefs, but Keala Kennelly is one gutsy lass.
Kennelly will not even begin to listen to advice from doctors. She’s here atTeahupoo to do a job, and that’s that. It’s just one reason why she has won thisevent three times previously.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti delivered by Air Tahiti Nui is proudly supported by VonZipper, Bose, Kustom and The Tahitian Surfing Federation.
Billabong Pro Live Webcast: via www.billabongpro.com and www.aspworldtour.com each day of the event utilizing live coverage in English, French and Portuguese, with the event websites being translated into these three languages plus, Japanese and Spanish. Various camera angles, highlights and replays, weather and scoring information, direct viewer interaction, celebrity guests, interviews and more are a part of the daily webcast program.