More than once, the South Pacific has puzzled organizers of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Instead of ghastly Teahupo’o caves there’s been a series of lacklustre waiting periods (and secretly relieved competitors) — but not this year. Even before the Top 34 began packing for their Air Tahiti flights there was buzz about a monster, a real Chopes swell, inching its way up the satellite screen. Two weeks away. One week.
Kelly Slater brought to Teahupo’o momentum from his US Open win just prior. Bruce Irons brought the memory of his brother, who won this event — Andy’s last — in 2010. The rest brought pintails and steel nerves as Tahiti truly, finally, lived up to its reputation in time for the contest.
What followed was far more memorable than any scores, ratings or prize money.
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