Billabong Pro Teahupoo (May 8-19)
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)2001 World Championship Tour (WCT)
WORLD’S BEST SET TO RISK LIFE & LIMB IN TAHITI
ASP Int’l, Australia (April 29, 2001). The upcoming Billabong Pro Teahupoo World Championship Tour (WCT) event begins in just nine (9) days at one ofthe most notorious waves, amidst Tahiti’s tropical paradise setting. The tournament will play a major role in this year’s world title ratings racefor both men and women, with the men’s event carrying an extra 20 percent ratings points due to the newly introduced prime surfing location bonus.
Current men’s world number one Danny Wills (Aus) will try and maintain the lead he secured during the first WCT event of 2001, after placing second to eventual winner and wildcard entrant Mick Fanning (Aus). The 26 year old has the added pressure of facing reigning world champion Sunny Garcia (Haw) and one of the top-placed Billabong Pro Trialists in his opening heat.
The Billabong Trials will feature the crème of international Teahupoo specialists and a strong contingent of local surfers between May 3rd and5th.
Current world number two Andy Irons (Haw), who won last years Teahupoo Trials in epic 8-10 foot (3m) waves with a fearless performance, could provethe danger-man. Irons, 22, is regarded one of the best surfers at Teahupoo and was a standout in last years tournament before being hospitalized with staff infection after hitting the reef prior to his third round match.
1999 world and event champion Mark Occhilupo (Aus) is another proven performer at Teahupoo. Currently rated equal eighth and in fighting form, ‘Occy’ will be out for a solid result after finishing third last year, following his win in ’99.
“I am confident and fit right now and looking forward to competing at Teahupoo,” said Occhilupo. “The break has been good to me. I would love towin again. It’s the best wave in the world and the most exciting.”
2000 world title runner-up Luke Egan (Aus), who is currently equal 16th, is also expected to be one of the big movers up the rankings. Egan, 31, is arenowned big wave specialist and has been in serious training for the event.
“I actually can’t wait to get over there,” said Egan. “It just feels so good to be packing the big boards again.”