Things are looking up down here south of the equator. The sun is shining, the waves are six to eight feet and perfect, and now that the Air Tahiti Nui Trials are finished, the main event—the Billabong Pro at Teahupo’o, is ready to get underway.
The trials finished yesterday in flawless conditions and sunny skies. Winning the event was Heimata Carroll from Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. Carroll took down Australian Shaun Cansdell in the final and earned himself a spot in the main event for the second time in three years—no easy feat considering the level of talent in the field that included surfers from Japan, Brazil, Hawaii, California, France, and Tahiti.
Heimata used his local knowledge to weave his way through tube after tube and the lanky goofy foot scored the only perfect ten of the trials in the final. He almost blew it though. With only a couple minutes remaining, Heimata dropped in on Cansdell and got an interference, but was just far enough ahead to get the win.
Also qualifying for the main event was last years’ winner Alain Riou from Tahiti and possibly Damon Harvey, depending on if there is a no show from a W.C.T. competitor.
During the free-surf sessions that go down before and after the event, Bruce Irons has been blowing up. Yesterday I was out at “the spot as locals call it, and Bruce was toying with six-foot, somewhat-mushy-by-Teahupo’o standards waves. Apparently there is an Australian gambling website where you can bet on surfers placings’ and Bruce is at 36 to 1 to win. While I don’t condone gambling, a hundred bucks on Bruce to win could net you a cool $3600.
Things really heated up when Andy arrived for the evening session and proceeded to go toe to toe with his little brother. Kalani Robb and Sunny Garcia were looking like contenders as well, bashing lips and parking it into numerous barrels.In a controversial maneuver, the powers that be closed the lineup today to non-top 44 surfers so they can get in some practice time. That means you and I cannot surf Teahupo’o today from twelve to two. Would this happen anywhere else? I don’t think so. But who’s going to argue with Kaiborg and Poto as they patrol the lineup on 1200cc jet-skis?
Stay tuned for more news from the jungle where the no-no’s and mosquitoes rule and the reef slices fools at will.