The Many Faces Of Teahupoo

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP).
Foster’s Men’s World Tour.
Women’s ASP World Championship Tour.Billabong Pro Tahiti Men’s May 5-17th
Billabong Pro Tahiti Girl’s May 5-15th

Catch it LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com and www.billabongpro.com

NO words can describe the scene here at Teahupoo this morning as we try to battlethe gnarly elements and attempt to get on with the third round of the BillabongPro Tahiti. With the swell thumping in at a solid 6-8 ‘ , with predominantly amore southerly aspect to it than yesterday, and howling onshore winds and rain, itseems we are in for one hell of a testing day.

It ‘ s 8.15am here now. We were trying to start at 8am, but who knows what ‘ sgoing on out there. The power went down, along with the phone and data lines,about five minutes ago. They sound like they ‘ re riding out a hurricane outthere on the tower with direct easterly winds blasting rain and spray straight inand all over the judges computers, the PA system, the webcast gear.

We might not get to webcast to the world today, though ASP techno ‘ whiz ManoZiul and Billabong ‘ s equally skilled and dedicated webcast manager StirlingHowland will no doubt somehow get the service out. It feels like we ‘ re on theedge of Mother Earth hanging on. How we ‘ ll get the event going, or even getthis press release out, is anyone ‘ s guess. It didn ‘ t start out that way.

‘ Blink-blink-blink ‘ go the fluorescent lights here in the media centre …the power just went back on. I ‘ m running out into the storm and tempest to seewhat ‘ s going on …

Ah, the marvels and dedication of the Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s World Tour Top 45surfers, the ASP, Billabong and local crews … it ‘ s 8.19am and heat onebetween American bros Kelly Slater and Timmy Curran just started. Against alladversity, the show is on the road!

The pre-dawn this morning was downright spooky. The clouds behind the mountainsbehind us were pink, but so was the surrounding light, everywhere, even three orfour kilometres back towards the west under low stormy skies that were musteringto drench us. A double rainbow beamed out from the dark clouds in the western sky.

At 6.15am you would have thought you were wearing rose tinted glasses. Minuteslater, the surrounding light turned yellow, like sunlight filtered through smoke,as you see in bushfires. It too was eerie. Jokes went around about maybe someonehad let off a nuclear bomb somewhere on the map, or perhaps on that nearbyinfamous island where the French formerly tested their nuclear hardware.

Out in the lineup, the early crew were all looking in to the shore and up to thestrange sky rather than out to sea. They were in awe of the strange light showgoing down.

With barely a wisp of wind, the surf was cranking, caverns to be had with caution,and rogue sets out of the west, so west that they were, as Kalani Robb observedlater, basically ‘ not even catch-able ‘ . Then came the downpour around6.35am, and then around 6.50am a following front of howling onshore winds,instantly turning the lineup from a crystal cathedral to a whitewater mess. Theboys put away their 6 ‘ 6 ” boards and resorting to waxing up their smallboards.

” This morning was really good, about six, maybe eight foot. It wasn ‘ tbreaking on the outer reef, but on the inside, ” reported K-Robb.

” It was breaking as far in as I ‘ ve ever seen it break – even if it weredirect south swell, and yet there some good-sized sneakers out of the west thatjust came out of nowhere – straight west, and not even catch-able really. Ifyou were to catch one of those it would just pull you so straight into the reefthat you ‘ d go down. ”

” I was paddling out after catching a wave, bailed on like a solid eight footer,and broke my board and got pretty worked. Occy took on the next wave and tried topull in butt it was kind of almondy, not really barrelling wide, but just at thetop of the wall. He straightened out and got sent over the reef and into thelagoon. So, all in all, it was good waves, but it was treacherous too, ” saidRobb.

” Yeah, I ‘ m on fire aren ‘ t I? ” chuckled Occy in response as heapplied antiseptic powder to his war wounds from the reef yesterday morning.

” It was good early, but now it ‘ s history, it really is, ” said Occylooking out over the storm tossed sea about 7.15am.

” This wind looks like it ‘ s set in for the day. I don ‘ t know what they’ re going to do, but I guess they ‘ ve got to run. There ‘ s some tacticsgoing to go on out there today, and I ‘ m not telling mine ” .

” It ‘ s going to be interesting out there. I ‘ m going to ride an evenshorter board, ” commented Bruce Irons as he dug amongst his pile of sticks.

Meanwhile, back to real-time here now, 8.56am, Stirling Howland has confirmed thatthe live scores are up and running on www.billaongpro.com and www.aspworldtour.com- on ya boys!

They ‘ ve also just finished the first heat of round three and six-times worldchamp Robert Kelly Slater is our first member of the Foster ‘ s Men ‘ s WorldTour to move on to round four. His highline scores were a 9.83 and a 5.83.

Who knows, it could be sunny and offshore in a few hours. The wind has dropped alittle, may even be swinging, the rain has backed off ever so slightly as well,and the swell is cleaning up a little. Out here in the middle of the SouthPacific, the weather changes so quickly that anything is possible . Teahupoo hasmany faces.

ROUND THREE DRAW FOR TODAY, MONDAY MAY 16th.

H1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs Tim Curran (USA)
H2: Chris Ward (USA) vs Bruce Irons (HAW)
H3: Cory Lopez (USA) vs Taylor Knox (USA)
H4: CJ Hobgood (USA) vs Lee Winkler (AUS)
H5: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs Victor Ribas (BRZ)
H6: Daniel Wills (AUS) vs Marcelo Nunes (BRZ)
H7: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs Michael Lowe (AUS)
H8: Andy Irons (HAW) vs Hira Teriinatoofa (TAH)
H9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs Shea Lopez (USA)
H10: Darren O ‘ Rafferty (AUS) vs Fred Patacchia Jnr (HAW)
H11: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs Travis Logie (RSA)
H12: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) vs Kalani Robb (HAW)
H13: Trent Munro (AUS) vs Raoni Monteiro (BRZ)
H14: Nathan Hedge (AUS) vs Peterson Rosa (BRZ)
H15: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs Paulo Moura (BRZ)
H16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs Neco Padaratz (BRZ)

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.comand 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.

(From Paul Sargeant)