Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials Day Two
Teahupoo, Tahiti (Sunday 27th April 2008): TEAHUPOO, Tahiti has continued to deliver on day two of the Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials, creating a perfect arena for world-class barrel riders to showcase their skills.
With the swell peaking at 5m late yesterday afternoon and the tow in crew’s scoring one of the sessions of the year, the clean up sets backed off slightly over night but still revealed perfect 8-12ft slabs at dawn, fanned by light offshore winds.
A day of standout performances from the contingent of Hawaiian, Australian and Tahitian surfers set an unprecedented level of commitment and high scores, including two perfect 10-point rides.
After today’s surfing, only 20 contestants remain in contention for the two wildcards available into the Billabong Pro Tahiti main event, which begins May 8th.
Australian surfer Dylan Longbottom rode the two biggest waves of his life late yesterday afternoon during the tow in session and continued his good form in the trials by winning through to the man on man fifth round.
“I was a little bit frustrated yesterday not surfing heats because I was seeded through but it was good to get out there today, the waves were still pumping,” he said. “I think I got the two best waves I have had out here last night, it was an amazing tow session out here with the boys,” he said.
“To get two bombs like that is phenomenal, I will definitely have some memories.”
The future stars of world surfing continued to step it up on the second day with both Dean Bowen (Gerroa, AUS), 16, and Tamaroa McComb (Tahiti/Gold Coast), 16, keeping their campaign alive with solid tube rides.
An impressive showing by the stocky goofy footer Bowen has seen him slip through four consecutive heats. Showing class beyond his years and courage beyond belief, Bowen jumped on a heaving set wave in the dying stages of his heat today to edge out Tahitian duo Niuhi Marere and Tehina Temorere and move forward in second behind Danny Fuller (HAW).
“I just got my score on my last wave but I was getting really hassled in that heat,” said Bowen. “Danny is one of the best surfers out at Chopes so it was good being out there with him.”
“I don’t really care how I go, my mates at home thought I would do good, but I’m just doing my thing so we’ll see what happens in the end.”
McComb looked right at home at Teahupoo having grown up surfing similarly powerful waves on the island of Huahine in the Tahitian chain. Now living in Australia with Dylan Longbottom and his family, the super talented natural footer has exploded onto the international surfing scene over the past three months.
He progressed behind his Australian mentor today and will face him again in a man on man heat in round five, something Longbottom said they thought might happen.
“Tamaroa and I were joking around at home before we came over, wondering what would happen if we were matched up together, and by fate we were in the same heat today,” said Longbottom. “It’s all good though, we both got through.
“He is such a good talent and even though he is super young he charges, especially here in Tahiti.”
Danny Fuller, Jamie O’Brien and Jamie Sterling showed exactly why they are ranked as the new breed of Pipeline chargers by repeating their antics at Teahupoo in rounds three and four.
Fuller is no stranger to the Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials having placed third in 2007. He also finished fifth in the Billabong Pro main event in 2006 after winning a trials wildcard. His top results in prior Trials events earned him a direct seed into the fourth round.
“It’s a little bit frustrating not having opportunities to surf waves like yesterday, but it was awesome to see some of my friends really stepping it up,” he said. “I got some good waves last night in the tow session and this morning was unreal.”
The stylish goofy foooter used impeccable wave selection and timing in the gaping tubes to easily win his seeded round four heat on a total of 18.17. He will face Aussie super grom Bowen again in round five after beating him in round four.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect with young Dean, he paddled up for the first heat and I was like, I hope he doesn’t wax me, but he’s a good kid and he definitely charges.”
O’Brien notched up 18.33 out of 20.00 in his round three heat and then kept the ball rolling in round four by scoring an equally impressive 18.30.
Standing tall in one backside tube ride, the natural footer was toying with the monstrous sets at every chance, his current form indicating he is on track to secure one of the two main event wildcards up for grabs. He will surf against local Tahitian charger Germain Tuataa when competition resumes.
Fellow Hawaiians Clay Marzo, Stephane Koehne and Kalani Chapman had their round four heats postponed due to a dramatic deterioration in conditions.
Two perfect ten-point scores were ridden on the second day of competition, one by Tahitian surfer Tuhiti Haumani and the other by Brazilian goofy footer Bruno Santos.
A full list of results and images can be found on www.billabongpro.com
The Billabong Pro Tahiti and Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials is supported internationally by Air Tahiti Nui, Bose, Yamaha Waverunner, Von Zipper, Kustom and Nixon. The event is also supported domestically in Tahiti by Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Mana OPT and RFO Television.