Billabong Pro Tahiti: Event Preview And Editor Picks
What: The 2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Watch it live at billabongpro.com
Where: Teahupo'o aka 'The End Of The Road" aka "Chopes". Whatever you call it, it's generally referred to the "heaviest wave in the world" for good reason.
When: The waiting period begins August 20 and ends August 31.
Who: The cream of the ASP World Tour crop including Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, Tahiti's own Michel Bourez, and two dangerous wildcards—Heiarii Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos.
With its thundering barrels and vicious wipeouts, the Billabong Pro Tahiti is the most anticipated stop on the World Tour. With the event site situated nearly a mile offshore, it's an event unlike any other. There are no bleachers, no schwag being passed out on the beach, no big cities, and no sideshows. It's a surfer's contest. A festival of tube riding. Air's don't matter. It's the reason people started calling this the "Dream Tour."
TransWorld SURF will be there, albeit not surfing in the trials like the old days (I called it quits after nearly drowning out there when my leash got caught on the reef while taking eight foot sets on the head), but celebrating and cheering on every heaving tube and skin scraping beat down. Our daily updates will make you feel like you're right there with us high-fiving dudes as they get spit out of the barrel!—Justin Coté
TransWorld SURF Editor Picks
Editor In Chief Chris Coté
Winner: There are two guys that are gonna go out to Teauhpo'o and pig-dog the shit out of that place. One of them will win. These two tube dwellers have the advantage of growing up near "The End Of The Road." The best bet for champion this year is Michel Bourez—watch his part in TransWorld SURF's Surprise Excitement Party for proof. The other possible champ is to Teauhpo'o what Adam Robertson is to Bells— Heiarii Williams is his name and he’s deadly at Chopes—especially when the waves are pumping.
Shocker: Where's Dane? And how much will the ASP fine him when he doesn't show up?
Who will rip: Parko always does well in Tahiti, as does Bobby Martinez and the Hobgoods.
Who will slip: It will be interesting to watch Julian and Alejo at Chopes—I bet they will actually rip. Another question isn’t who will slip, it's more like who will pull a no show? Dane? Slater? Bobby?
Managing Editor Casey Koteen
Winner: Kelly Slater. He was putting in time in throaty lefthanders in Fiji while the rest of the tour was eeking it out in marginal J-Bay. And in year's past there's this momentum upswing for the second half of the tour from people who do well at the US Open.
Shocker: Wilko will do a proper flip out.
Who will rip: I think it's about time Michel Bourez came up in his homeland.
Who will slip: Dane Reynolds. No inside word or anything, but I don't think he's going to Tahiti.
Photo Editor Aaron Checkwood
Winner: Owen Wright. The time is Wright. Sorry, had to do it.
Shocker: I think a lot of the leaders and favorites will fall early and we'll have a new winner.
Who will rip: A Hobgood. You can't go wrong with either of them in Tahiti.
Who will slip: Four out of the top five in the ratings.
Online Editor Justin Coté
Winner: Fred Patacchia. Hungry, mad, and willing to chuck himself over the ledge when (I'm praying for this) it gets a proper 8-foot out there.
Shocker: Boardshorts will be stained when Teahupo'o rears its terrifying head at eight to ten foot.
Who will rip: The Hobgood's, Bobby Martinez, Mick Fanning, and wildcard Ricardo Dos Santos.
Who will slip: There are a lot of guys on tour who haven't seen Teahupo'o at it's best. Guys like Alejo Muniz, Julian Wilson, Matt Wilkinson, Brett Simpson and a few of the newer guys on tour are in for a real test if it gets big.
Associate Editor Zander Morton
Winner: CJ Hobgood. He's been quiet this year – but it looks like the Billabong Pro will kick off in good surf, and CJ surfs Teahupo'o as good as anyone.
Shocker: Joel Parkinson. He's held the midseason ratings lead before but has never capitalized with a win at Chopes. History will repeat itself.
Who will rip: Cory Lopez. He's pissed about his poor WT results to date. If the waves are solid, he can win this event. Easy.
Who will slip: Jordy Smith. Not that Jordy won't rip—he always does—but I predict a falter against a wildcard in the early rounds.
Sales Turkey/Former World Tour surfer Jeff Baldwin
Winner: Parko vs Ace.
Shocker: After smashing his face onto the reef in Indo, Owen Wright will be gun shy.
Who will rip: Depends on what swell they get. I don't want rodeo flips or reverses…I want mean ass barrels of death where Dusty, Dane, and Julian will come alive.
Who will slip: Jordy will have surfboard issues and Alejo Muniz, who's been shining so bright, will be humbled.
Above: A compilation of wipeouts from “The World’s Heaviest Wave.”
Billabong Pro Tahiti betting odds from sportsbet.com.au
Kelly Slater: 5.5 to 1
Joel Parkinson: 7 to 1
Jordy Smith: 8 to 1
Mick Fanning: 9 to 1
Michel Bourez: 11 to 1
Taj Burrow: 14 to 1
Bobby Martinez: 18 to 1
Julian Wilson: 34 to 1
Dane Reynolds: 41 to 1
Raoni Monteiro: 151 to 1
Gabe Kling: 151 to 1