Welcome To The Jungle: Day One At The 2006 Billabong Pro Teahupo’o

It’s amazing what eight hours in a flying tin box can do for you. Instead of molding on the couch all day Sunday nursing a hangover, I’m in Tahiti. Yeah, my friends and co-workers hate me, but who cares. From the minute I stepped off the plane, I was back to my favorite place in the world.

Showing up to any other airport with no ride in sight to Teahupo’o (an hour’s drive away) would normally cause a panic attack–but not in Tahiti. It was as simple as seeing a Tahitian friend and bumming a ride down to Taaroa Lodge and spending a night in the comforts of “Town before going headfirst into the gladiator pit known as Teahupo’o.

Life is good. Unfortunately, the waves are just average but contest organizers had no choice but to send the ladies out in the two-to-three foot conditions–which for most of us would be an all-time day at the local spot. Rochelle Ballard, who won her round three heat today, describe the conditions as “just like Rocky Point.

In other women’s news, the “Queen Of Chopes Keala Kennelly, has a cracked vertebrae but is on painkillers to ease the discomfort. She’s one tough chick–and the best female surfer to ever here.

The men’s event could start Tuesday and the women are likely wrap up in the next day or so.

Go to www.billabongpro.com or www.aspworldtour.com for up to date heat results and to watch the live Web cast.

TransWorld SURF will be reporting daily from Teahupo’o daily. Thanks to the Tahitian Tourism Board, Air Tahiti Nui, Billabong, and the Maoni family for their hospitality.