NOTES FROM THE BILLABONG PRO TAHITI: DAY EIGHT

posted by / News / May 11, 2006

Surf: 4- to 5-feet and painting perfect
Events Held: Men’s Round Two, Men’s Round Three Heats 1 -3
Nature’s Call: Damn, aren’t I beautiful?
Predicted: Bust out the Russ Hennings floodlights and run this thing around the clock – before the swell disappears


“Maururu.” Walk anywhere in these parts, and you’re going to hear this Tahitian phrase a hell of a lot more than “merci.” It means, “thank you,” and applies to everything from morning greetings to business exchanges to drunken heart-to-hearts. It also applies to the recognition of a cheering channel when not one, but two, locals took out two top seeds today in – as Danny Fuller put it — “buttery” 4- to 5-foot dream shacks at Teahupo’o. Nineteen-year-old Hearii Williams versus Mick Fanning? Maururu! Hira Terinatoofa versus Phil MacDonald? Maururu! Maururu!

Pipeline may have the girth and the gladiator-like atmosphere, but competing in a cloudless, offshore morning at the End of the Road is like inserting yourself into one of those Davey Miller airbrush paintings. It was so clear, hollow and Tahitian dreamy, ASP filmer Mike Prickett couldn’t help himself and spent much of his morning underwater.

From there, he filmed the parrotfish ducking for cover as Andy Irons had a yet another scare with yet another wildcard in the first heat of the morning. Andy was in control for most of the heat. An easy pigdog for an 8.67. Another high five for backup. But then Tahitian Kevin Johnson went to work. Johnson, who has a day job as a flight attendant, got a call while he was in Japan, telling him a slot opened up and to high-tail it back to the event. The extended flat spell made it possible for him, and now he found himself up against the three-time world champ with the biggest ledge of the day welling up in front of him. He slipped under the curtain, rode the foamball and emerged for an underscored low seven. “That was a 9. Easy,” said most from the channel.

Johnson then grabbed another insider, racked up another seven and with three minutes to go, announcer Nick Carroll bellowed: “There’s been a change in the situation. Red, Andy Irons, you are now in second requiring a 6.3.”

Andy did a double-take, and everyone in the Captain Good Vibes camp groaned. “Not again! Kelly doesn’t even surf between events, just took off on a billionaire’s 150-foot yacht for a day in the Tuamotus, and our boy Andy – who’s been killing it in and out of the water for the past week – is about to lose to a wildcard! It can’t be!”

Fortunately for them, it wasn’t. His heat-winner came in. He Johnny-Boy stalled, pitched a tent, filed his nails and ate a ham sandwich, emerged with the spit and secured a 7.5 for the win – just barely. “I was freaking out there,” said Andy, later. “He got a 7 what? I’m losing?! Too close for me. I got lucky.”


Others weren’t. Veteran Tahitian charger Hira Terinatoofa ended Phil MacDonald’s Tahitian vacation in the span of about two minutes when he caught arguably the best wave of the day, pre-claimed for a 9.5, then nabbed another insider for an 8. Comboed. Splash water. Heat over. Maururu!

Then there’s Hearii Williams, the young, smiley Tahitian who blazed through the trials and just out-rhythmed Mick Fanning. Longer, deeper, better wave choice. He left Mick sitting out the back for the last five minutes needing a six something. “What can you do?” Mick later asked, motioning to the ocean. Not much, when Hearii’s high-fiving his friends and screaming, “Maururu!”

We’ll see if he’s saying the same thing after his heat with Slater tomorrow—who was supposed to return from his Tuamotus diversion via helicopter last night. Andy gets to face his Round One nemesis, Manoa Drollet, again, and Parko will have his backhands full with Hira. Then there’s Kauai playboy Danny Fuller, flying on a 6’1” Stretch quad, enjoying Mai Tai life on the Haumana, trolling for beautiful bunkmates and just jonesing to surf his Round Three heat against Taj Burrow.

“Are you worried?” we asked him about his draw tomorrow.

“Not even,” said Danny. “This place for me – it’s, like, second nature.”

Round 2 results:

Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.67 def. Kevin Johnson (AUS) 14.{{{80}}}
Heat 2: Heiarii Williams (PYF) 14.33 def Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.23
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.50 def. Steve Pierson (PYF) 8.43
Heat 4: Hira Terinatoofa (PYF) 17.50 def. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 8.13
Heat 5: Yuri Sodre (BRA) 17.07 def. Trent Munro (AUS) 14.00
Heat 6: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 7.50 def. Pedro Henrique (BRA) 7.16
Heat 7: Jarrad Howse (AUS) 5.{{{90}}} def Tom Whitaker (AUS) 2.76
Heat 8: Mikael Picon (FRA) def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW)
Heat 9: Paulo Moura (BRA) 15.00 def. Davey Weare (ZAF) 10.83
Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA) 11.60 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 9.83
Heat 11: Luke Stedman (AUS) 14.67 def Peterson Rosa (BRA) 13.33
Heat 12: Victor Ribas (BRA) 12.44 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.00
Heat 13: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 16.83 def. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 7.00
Heat 14: Jake Paterson (AUS) 16.17 def. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 5.50Heat 15: Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 10.64 def Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.83
Heat 16: Danny Wills (AUS) 9.83 def. Troy Brooks (AUS) 9.50

Round 3 results:

Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.33 def. Yuri Sodre (BRA) 11.50
Heat 2: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 17.27 def. Paulo Moura (BRA) 11.23
Heat 3: Cory Lopez (USA) 16.17 def Jake Paterson (AUS) 11.50

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