The Air Tahiti Nui Trials Are Underway And Chopes Is Firing!!!

Billabong Pro Tahiti 2005

Watch it all live atwww.billabongpro.com

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
World Championship Tour (WCT).
Teahupo’o, Tahiti.
May 5th — 17th, 2005

Air Tahiti Nui/ Von Zipper Trials April 25th-29th
Billabong Pro Tahiti Men’s May 5-17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti Girl’s May 5-15th

*Detailed Ben Matson surf report at page end

High Stakes and High Scores as Wildcards Beckon in Tahiti

Wednesday 27th April 2005 (Teahupo’o, Tahiti): A decrease in swell overnight resulted in perfect 2m conditions for the second day of the Air Tahiti Nui/Von Zipper trials at Teahupo’o, as competitors rode the pristine ‘Chopes’ barrels in hope of securing a wildcard into the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Stakes were raised and pressure intensified as top seeded third round surfers submitted their bid for a slot in the Billabong Pro for 2005. Today’s surfing saw the culmination of the second and third round. The fourth round scheduled for tomorrow conditions pending will feature eight half hour man on man heats.

Gold Coast surfer Dylan Longbottom came from behind in the dying minutes of his top seeded third round heat, to earn a position in the remaining 16. The 31-year-old, who recently won the Global Billabong XXL Big Wave award for biggest tube ride was trailing throughout the 30 minute heat after being smashed on his first two waves. With only minutes remaining, Longbottom used his deep inside position to launch into a solid eight foot set wave, ride deep inside the tube, emerge and pull off a critical air drop floater over dry reef, earning an 8.50.

“I got my first one and I knew I wasn’t deep enough so I tried to stall and the lip hit me in the head and flipped me upside down and I hit my board and then the reef, said Longbottom. “When I paddled back out this set came in wide so I swung and just got held under for so long, I was thinking, what’s going on. My next one was a good long barrel and I know I needed a good score so I went for the floater. There was just enough water for my fins and it was so clear and green with big coral heads everywhere. I must have landed between two of them (Coral Heads) and then just jumped into the white wash and bounced along the reef.

Longbottom’s unique barrel riding skills were enough for second place but not for the win with yesterday’s standout performer Kalani Chapman (Haw) again proving his authority at the heaving left hander.

“He charging, he’s a really good tube rider, especially growing up at Pipeline and he got some good ones, so I’m stoked to go through with him, said Longbottom.

Chapman, the 23-year-old goofy footer from Sunset Beach has consistently taken late critical drops from far deeper in the heaving Teahupo’o take off zone than his fellow competitors. Using a different tactic than his opponents by looking for the west angled peaks which offer one huge ledging section as opposed to a longer, more perfect ride, Chapman waits until the last moment, then propels himself virtually under the lip. The tactic paid off once again today, winning both his second and third round heats convincingly.

“If the waves aren’t quite right, you can’t go, you just got to wait for the best ones and go, it’s the best chance you have of winning, said Chapman. “You just got to close your eyes paddle hard and hope for the best.

Pete Mendia (USA) led the way for the US mainland surfers today with a solid heat win over Ben Sancho (Eur) Tahitian wildcard Heimata Pollock and 1993 world champion Derek Ho (Haw). The Florida surfer, renowned for chasing big waves as opposed to following the World Qualifying Series will face a man on man battle with Sancho in the fourth round.

“Conditions were fun out there, a couple of really good sets, I didn’t make the best one that I caught but though, said Mendia. “It definitely feels good, the next round is man on man so I’m really looking forward to that, iwill be a dream. This whole time I have been here is probably the biggest I have seen it, yesterday was super sick and today was a lot more fun.

It’s was a day of mixed results for local Tahitian surfers with defending Air Tahiti Nui/Von Zipper trials champion Heimata Carroll suffering a shock opening round three, elimination. The talented goofy footer posted his worst result ever in the WCT Trials after finishing third behind by an inform Liam McNamarra of Hawaii and Australia’s giant killer Anthony Walsh (Lennox Head).

Experienced Teahupo’o surfer Manoa Drollet kept the local hopes alive with a brilliant backhand performance that saw him post one of the day’s highest individual wave scores of 9.75 with late take-off straight into a pitching barrel. The natural footer then backed up with another near perfect ride to score 9.1 and 18.85 out of a possible 20.

Seventeen year-old Heiarii Williams live up to the reputation he has been carving out at Teahupo’o and in Tahiti by advancing behind Brazilian Bernado Miranda into round four.

“It’s not bad, I got two waves, one was a 7.00 and the other an 8.50. I’m very happy man, I want to continue like this, said Williams in his newly acquired English, gained from recently spending three months in Australia honing his competitive skills.

“I don’t surf Teahupo’o much, when the swell comes, I come here, when no swell, no come here.”

Included in the list of shock losses today was Brazil’s Danilo Costa who was expected to be a major contender for a Billabong Pro wildcard. Also joining the list of causalities were the Hawaiian Ho brothers Michael and Derek. 48 year-old Michael was narrowly defeated in the dying seconds in his round three heat by fellow Hawaiian Tamayo Perry who managed an 8.25 ride on the final set of the day. Tahiti’s Nicolas Leetham advanced in second just a mere point four ahead of Ho.

Competition will resume at 8am tomorrow morning conditions pending.

The Billabong Pro Tahiti delivered by Air Tahiti Nui is proudly supported by Von Zipper, Bose, Kustom and The Tahitian Surfing Federation

Results

1st and 2nd progress to round four 3rd and 4th eliminated

Round Three

Heat 1: Pete Mendia (USA), Ben Sancho (Eur), Derek Ho (Haw), Heimata Pollock (Tah).
Heat 2: Bernado Miranda (Brz), Heiari Williams (Tah), Steven Pierson (Tah), Heifara Tahutini (Tah).
Heat 3: Kalani Chapman (Haw), Dylan Longbottom (Aus), Reef McIntosh (Haw), Tehina Temorere (Tah).
Heat 4: Liam McNamara (Haw), Anthony Walsh (Aus), Heimata Carroll (Tah), Malik Joyeux (Tah).
Heat 5: Damon Harvey (Aus), Kevin Johnson (Tah), Pedro Henrique (Brz).
Heat 6: Manoa Drollet (Tah), Michel Bourez (Tah), Heina Rochette (Tah) Patrice Chancy (Tah).
Heat 7: Danny Fuller (Haw), Paez Henere (Tah), Danilo Costa (Brz), James Wood (Aus).
Heat 8:,Tomayo Perry (Haw), Nicolas Leetham (Tah), Michael Ho (Haw). Germain Tuataa (Tah).

Tomorrow’s round 4 Match-Up’s

Heat 1: Pete Mendia (USA), Ben Sancho (Eur)
Heat 2: Bernado Miranda (Brz), Heiari Williams (Tah)
Heat 3: Kalani Chapman (Haw), Dylan Longbottom (Aus)
Heat 4: Liam McNamara (Haw), Anthony Walsh (Aus)
Heat 5: Damon Harvey (Aus), Kevin Johnson (Tah)
Heat 6: Manoa Drollet (Tah), Michel Bourez (Tah)
Heat 7: Danny Fuller (Haw), Paez Henere (Tah)
Heat 8:,Tomayo Perry (Haw), Nicolas Leetham (Tah)

Swellnet – Air Tahiti Nui/Von Zipper Trials, Teahupoo – Surf Forecast
Tuesday 26th April, 7pm local time
*next update Wednesday 27th April, 6pm*

*note – all days and times are local Tahitian times*

Current surf conditions:
*large swell peaking between 8′ and 10′ during the day, light SE winds*

Key Forecast Points:
* Plenty of sizeable surf for Wed
* Large follow-up WSW swell for Thurs arvo/Fri
* Very large swell Sun/Mon/Tues
* Generally favourable conditions until about Friday, periods of onshore winds over the weekend

Quick 5-day overview:
Wed: poss early 6-8′ sets at first, generally easing to 4-6′ by lunch, generally light variable winds, poss N’ly tendency at times tending S’ly later in the day

Thurs: plenty of SW swell in the 4-5′ range, but an additional WSW swell is expected to ramp up wave heights towards 8′ during the afternoon, generally light variable winds, poss N’ly tendency at times

Fri: strong 8′ WSW swell, generally light variable winds at first, tending onshore during the day, size possibly easing later in the day

Sat: temporarily easing size to 5-6′ ahead of a very large kick in the late afternoon towards 10’+, possibly bigger, but onshore

Sun: very large swell in the 12-15′ range, but onshore

Longer Term: very large swell holding Mon/Tues

Marine Synopsis/Prognosis

A strong groundswell pushed into the Tahitian region overnight, significantly ramping up wave heights throughout Tuesday with peak sets holding between 8′ and occasionally 10′ at times. This swell was the product of a deep low pressure system that traversed south of New Zealand during the middle of last week, but an additional low of much greater strength developed behind it around Friday (SW of New Zealand), and strong surface wind speeds generated a very large wavelength that assisted in significantly lifting surf size at Teahupoo. Surface conditions also remained very favourable with a light SE’ly wind throughout the region.

These swells are expected to ease during Wednesday, but there is still a chance for a few rogue 6-8′ sets in the morning before the swell trend generally abates to 4-6′ throughout the day. Conditions are expected to hold out reasonably well in the morning courtesy of a light and variable air stream, but a weakening tropical depression tracking SE of Fiji may slight influence the surface wind field in the Tahitian region as it approaches Tahiti’s longitude. This may result in a brief period of northerly winds tending southerly during the afternoon, however confidence is not especially high on whether this will eventuate.

The remainder of the waiting period for the Trials indicates another strong succession of swell events for Tahiti. A deep low that developed east of New Zealand on Sunday has now begun generating new WSW swell for Teahupoo, and with wind speeds recorded in the 40-45kt range over the last few days, we’re likely to see a healthy swell period with plenty of energy. Additionally, a small frontal system tracking over the North Island of New Zealand is expected to develop another favourable fetch for the Tahitian region (albeit smaller in size), and the combination of these swells will build throughout Thursday afternoon and into Friday with sets pushing back up into the 8′ range at times. This swell direction is expected to deliver very challenging conditions at Teahupoo, with the more prominent westerly component likely to shut down many waves. Conditions are likely to fluctuate throughout this time frame, with a couple of surface features expected to to track close to Tahiti and this will increased the change of afternoon thunderstorms (and associated squalls, albeit isolated). A resurgence in onshore winds is expected Saturday as a mid-latitude system pushes much further north than is usual for this part of the world, and this may in fact instigate a burst of the Maramu winds. However, wave heights will temporarily ease preceding a very large round of new swell.

Looking beyond Saturday, and we have a very significant swell event lining up for the second half of the coming weekend. A strong Southern Ocean frontal system and low is expected to merge with the aforementioned low (presently east of NZ), and they’re likely to track a considerable distance into Tahiti swell window between Thursday and Saturday (in association with an upper level long wave trough). The strong surface winds and prolonged duration of this event is expected to generate a very large swell event for Tahiti, and Sunday is on track for a solid round of surf around 12-15′. Unfortunately, this will easing to 4-6′ by lunch, generally light variable winds, poss N’ly tendency at times tending S’ly later in the day

Thurs: plenty of SW swell in the 4-5′ range, but an additional WSW swell is expected to ramp up wave heights towards 8′ during the afternoon, generally light variable winds, poss N’ly tendency at times

Fri: strong 8′ WSW swell, generally light variable winds at first, tending onshore during the day, size possibly easing later in the day

Sat: temporarily easing size to 5-6′ ahead of a very large kick in the late afternoon towards 10’+, possibly bigger, but onshore

Sun: very large swell in the 12-15′ range, but onshore

Longer Term: very large swell holding Mon/Tues

Marine Synopsis/Prognosis

A strong groundswell pushed into the Tahitian region overnight, significantly ramping up wave heights throughout Tuesday with peak sets holding between 8′ and occasionally 10′ at times. This swell was the product of a deep low pressure system that traversed south of New Zealand during the middle of last week, but an additional low of much greater strength developed behind it around Friday (SW of New Zealand), and strong surface wind speeds generated a very large wavelength that assisted in significantly lifting surf size at Teahupoo. Surface conditions also remained very favourable with a light SE’ly wind throughout the region.

These swells are expected to ease during Wednesday, but there is still a chance for a few rogue 6-8′ sets in the morning before the swell trend generally abates to 4-6′ throughout the day. Conditions are expected to hold out reasonably well in the morning courtesy of a light and variable air stream, but a weakening tropical depression tracking SE of Fiji may slight influence the surface wind field in the Tahitian region as it approaches Tahiti’s longitude. This may result in a brief period of northerly winds tending southerly during the afternoon, however confidence is not especially high on whether this will eventuate.

The remainder of the waiting period for the Trials indicates another strong succession of swell events for Tahiti. A deep low that developed east of New Zealand on Sunday has now begun generating new WSW swell for Teahupoo, and with wind speeds recorded in the 40-45kt range over the last few days, we’re likely to see a healthy swell period with plenty of energy. Additionally, a small frontal system tracking over the North Island of New Zealand is expected to develop another favourable fetch for the Tahitian region (albeit smaller in size), and the combination of these swells will build throughout Thursday afternoon and into Friday with sets pushing back up into the 8′ range at times. This swell direction is expected to deliver very challenging conditions at Teahupoo, with the more prominent westerly component likely to shut down many waves. Conditions are likely to fluctuate throughout this time frame, with a couple of surface features expected to to track close to Tahiti and this will increased the change of afternoon thunderstorms (and associated squalls, albeit isolated). A resurgence in onshore winds is expected Saturday as a mid-latitude system pushes much further north than is usual for this part of the world, and this may in fact instigate a burst of the Maramu winds. However, wave heights will temporarily ease preceding a very large round of new swell.

Looking beyond Saturday, and we have a very significant swell event lining up for the second half of the coming weekend. A strong Southern Ocean frontal system and low is expected to merge with the aforementioned low (presently east of NZ), and they’re likely to track a considerable distance into Tahiti swell window between Thursday and Saturday (in association with an upper level long wave trough). The strong surface winds and prolonged duration of this event is expected to generate a very large swell event for Tahiti, and Sunday is on track for a solid round of surf around 12-15′. Unfortunately, this will coincide with a period of onshore winds, so it looks like we may have to wait a couple of days for conditions to settle – but at the moment there’s not likely to be any shortage of size until Tuesday or thereabouts.

The start of the waiting period for the Billabong Pro is also on target for a strong pulse of long-period groundswell, originating from yet another powerful Southern Ocean low pressure system tracking south of New Zealand this weekend. Although it’s still quite some time away, there is increasing confidence that we’ll see a new and sizeable long period groundswell pushing into Tahiti around Thursday or Friday (size up around 6′, occasionally 8′). Current indications suggest a moderate top up in SW groundswell will follow over the weekend, but this scenario will have to be monitored closely over the next few days.– ill coincide with a period of onshore winds, so it looks like we may have to wait a couple of days for conditions to settle – but at the moment there’s not likely to be any shortage of size until Tuesday or thereabouts.

The start of the waiting period for the Billabong Pro is also on target for a strong pulse of long-period groundswell, originating from yet another powerful Southern Ocean low pressure system tracking south of New Zealand this weekend. Although it’s still quite some time away, there is increasing confidence that we’ll see a new and sizeable long period groundswell pushing into Tahiti around Thursday or Friday (size up around 6′, occasionally 8′). Current indications suggest a moderate top up in SW groundswell will follow over the weekend, but this scenario will have to be monitored closely over the next few days.–