The seventh stop on the ASP World Championship Tour 2014 got underway in 10-15 foot conditions.
After three consecutive lay days were called the Billabong Pro Tahiti finally began for what would be an exciting day as the world’s best surfers took to the biggest waves of the season, testing their limits and seeing some horrific wipeouts.
Round one saw Kelly Slater take down Sebastian Zietz and Glenn Hall. The 11-time World Champ went in with everything he’s got, posting a 7.00 for the opening exchange, the four-time event winner then went on to take the first nine-point ride of the event. Zietz tried to answer Slaters call, but fell short as the wave crashed around him. Hall took his chances and went for a big set wave, but unfortunately was the victim of another wipeout. Slater will advance directly to round three.
[pullquote]I’m so excited that I’m shaking. I need to calm myself down because I’m too excited[/pullquote]
“I’m so excited that I’m shaking. I need to calm myself down because I’m too excited. It’s going to be a great week and I think it’s going to get considerably bigger than this,” said Kelly Slater.
Heat four saw three-time World Champ, Mick Fanning, put on a near perfect performance. Fanning took an early lead, dominating his opponents Alejo Muniz and Mitch Coleborn. At the midway point, Coleborn and Muniz posted some respectable scores but Fanning kept a firm hold on his position, scoring a 9.03, putting Muniz and Coleborn in a combination situation. Fanning logged his second nine-point ride after tucking into another pristine barrel, making his heat total a 18.16.
Caption: Kelly Slater (USA) threads a Teahupo’o monster as opponent Glenn Hall barely ducks under in Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Image: ASP / Kirstin Scholtz
We can’t ask for anything better and I was stoked to get some good ones[/pullquote]
“We can’t ask for anything better and I was stoked to get some good ones. It’s so clean and perfect here and that wave I got was a dream,” Mick Fanning expressed.
The current ASP World No. 1, Gabriel Medina, triumphed over local trials winner Taumata Puhetini and rookie Mitch Crews in heat six. Medina was the first to post a score for a tube ride. By the 21-minute mark Medina was in the lead with 8.60 to Crews’ 5.50 and Puhetini’s 5.50. Puhetini went all in, with a handful of smooth rides allowing him to take second place and was neck-and-neck with Medina for the remainder of the heat. Crews took a few solid tubes but was unable to find the scores he needed.
“I’ve never surfer Teahupo’o like this before,” said Gabriel Medina. “It’s my first time and it’s pretty scary but I just tried to not think about it. I tried to keep focused, think about the paddle and pay attention. I’m stoked to make it through and feel like i’m living the dream.”
Heat eight of round one saw 2013 rookie of the year, Nat Young, take on 2004 event winner C.J. Hobgood and Tiago Pires in what was one of the most thrilling heats of the day. Young took an early lead; strengthening it with a huge bomb under Hobgoods Priority, earning a 9.67. Hobgood answered Young’s call and began to take on an absolute monster, but pulled back and was sucked over the falls – emerging relatively unscathed. Despite the scary moment, Hobgood delivered an 8.27 following his savage wipeout, unfortunately for Hobgood it was not enough and Young took the win.
“C.J.’s wipeout was scary, I saw him paddle for the wave and I heard everyone in the channel cheering. It was huge and he went for it, but then he pulled back at the last second and he got sucked over the falls. Out there you can’t think of what’s happened or what might happen. You have to focus on getting the waves that you want and making it,” commented heat winner Gabriel Medina.
The amazing first day of competition saw the rest of round one play out and the first two heats of round two, which were not short of action.
The first heat of round two saw Joel Parkinson dispose of local boy, Taumata Puhetini. The Tahitian suffered a massive wipeout — leaving him unable to continue the competition — he is stable and in good spirits.
Heat two saw Nathan Hedge post the first perfect 10 of the event in his match-up against Adriano De Souza, both Parkinson and Hedge will move to round three.
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.40, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.34, Glenn Hall (IRL) 4.53
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.66, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.63, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 7.17
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.50, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.17, Adam Melling (AUS) 5.07
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.16, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 8,47, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.10
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.30, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.30, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 15.77
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.33, Tuamata Puhetini (PYF) 12.17, Mitch Crews (AUS) 9.43
Heat 7: Dion Atkinson 15.33 (AUS), Adriano De Souza 13.10 (BRA), Miguel Pupo 10.94 (BRA)
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 16.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.27, Tiago Pires (PRT) 8.26
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.76, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 11.44, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 10.74
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.64, Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.94, Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.93
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 6.34, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5.43, Travis Logie (ZAF) 3.10
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.24, John John Florence (HAW) 15.83, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.73
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.17 def. Taumata Puhetini (PFY) 12.50
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.00 vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.77
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 Upcoming Match-Ups:
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Mitch Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (BRA)
Heat 8: Fredrick Patacchia Jr. (HAW) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)