NOTES FROM THE BILLABONG TAHITI PRO

posted by / News / May 9, 2006

Remember that last report on “flat” Teahupo’o, how it’s better than your home break and blah blah blah? Scratch it. It’s probably still better (the Jurassic scenery alone is enough to keep you inspired), but the last two days here have been flat flat. Like, unrideable flat, prompting many to wonder whether this year’s event will become the “Small Pass” open.

Oh, and remember that 140-foot, 17-cabin yacht we longingly admired from a distance? Well, we’re official stowaways now, watching Grizzly Man on a giant flat-screen inside an air-conditioned amphitheater, eating seared ahi and crab cakes. Draining Hinanos and French merlot until the wee hours, then stumbling home and trying to figure out how to do it all over again the next day. We’re not the only ones loving life on the Haumana. Andy Irons and Kai Garcia moved there intending to stay a couple days, but not even the Coast Guard can remove these guys now. “I came to Tahiti, got sick and full of mosquito bites and I was so eggy,” says Andy. “But ever since I moved on the boat, no more bites, no more sickness. Just the good life.”

Tahitian son Raimana {{{Van}}} Bastolaer is responsible for all this good life, and last night “Raimana World” went intergalactic with a huge celebration on the top deck. Live Tahitian music, endless hor doeuvres and lots of good company, from Brian Keaulana to Arsene Harehoe to Freddy Patacchia and Troy Brooks to Megan Abubo, Layne Beachley and Rochelle Ballard. Kelly arrived (fashionably late) as well, and as weird as everyone thought it might be with Slater and Irons staying on the same boat, so far, so good vibes – which was Raimana’s plan all along. “I just want to get these guys together,” he says, “because it doesn’t have to be like it is. It wouldn’t be uncomfortable if they just hung out a little bit.”

And what about the contest, the one with absolutely everything firing on all cylinders except the surf? Contest director Luke Egan powered out a whole lot of women’s heats today, winding them down to the quarterfinals in small-but-improving, shoulder-high Chopes. Going into this event, I was admittedly glad to hear the women would no longer be running a WCT at the terrifying lefthander. But after watching them work, surf and play here in Tahiti, I’m flip-flopping 180 degrees: the women need to be a part of this event. It’s good for them, good for us and good for surfing. Apparently, rumors circled about female competitors “threatening to sue” if Teahupo’o wasn’t removed from the schedule. But according to Ballard, it’s all made up. “We went to each and every girl, going, ‘Who threatened to sue?’” she says. “And there’s no way any of ‘em did it.”

Beachley, who’s in her own hunt for number seven after a pair of seconds in the first two events, agrees. “Look,” she says, “Teahupo’o scares the hell out of me, but I still want to compete here. Because I know how important it is for women’s surfing and pushing the sport forward.”

These girls aren’t just a bunch of lip service, either. OK, so you’re not going to see them calling off Shane Dorian on the next 12-foot superledge, but when it’s 5 feet and under, they’re a damn impressive bunch. And it’s not just one or two chargers – it’s nearly the whole lot of ’em, from seasoned vets like Melanie Redman Carr (who came back in the dying seconds today to beat super-smooth wildcard Nicola Atherton) to new kids like 21-year-old Aussie Rebecca Woods, a polished, precise regularfoot who picked apart Trudy Todd today. We watched Sofia Mulanovich take out rookie Jesse Miley Dyer, methodically arcing top to bottom, staying on rail and bashing lips all the way to dry reef. And we watched current world champ Chelsea Georgeson, streaking through a late-afternoon 4-footer and racking up the highest heat score of the day. Keala also impressed with one of the only other legit tubes of the day, and she’s surely ready to officially reinstate her title as the “Queen of Teahupo’o”. “The back’s feeling good,” she says of her bruised vertebrae. “The only time it hurts is when I bend it way back, so I guess it’s no soul arches for me.”


The way the forecast is looking (a 4-foot bump overnight and nothing much else), it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be doing any soul arches. Then again, we’d never bet on it. This place has a habit of changing minds.

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI WOMEN’S RESULTS
ROUND THREE: 1st advances to quarterfinals, 2nd finishes equal 9th and earns $USD3000
HEAT 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 16.33 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 13.07
HEAT 2: Heather Clark (ZAF) 12.84 def. Megan Abubo (HAW) 12.84
HEAT 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.50 def. Trudy Todd (AUS) 11.26
HEAT 4: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 13.{{{90}}} def. Nicola Atherton (AUS) 13.50
HEAT 5: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.83 def. Serena Brooke (AUS) 7.{{{80}}}
HEAT 6: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 10.17 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 9.94
HEAT 7: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.63 def. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 12.13
HEAT 8: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 16.73 def. Julia Christian (USA) 6.67

ROUND TWO: 1st and 2nd advance to round three, 3rd finishes equal 17th and earns $USD2500
HEAT 1: Nicola Atherton (AUS) 14.10; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.90; Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.{{{57}}}
HEAT 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.50; Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.43; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.56

ROUND ONE: 1st and 2nd advance to round three, 3rd surfs round two.
HEAT 1: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 15.17; Trudy Todd (AUS) 8.06; Megan Abubo (HAW) 5.90
HEAT 2: Julia Christian (USA) 12.33; Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.84; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 3.83
HEAT 3: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.00; Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 10.63; Nicola Atherton (AUS) 9.60
HEAT 4: Serena Brooke (AUS) 13.27; Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.24; Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.37
HEAT 5: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 14.00; Keala Kennelly (HAW) 12.90; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 3.40
HEAT 6: Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 13.66; Heather Clark (ZAF) 13.34; Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.66

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