2005 BILLABONG PRO TAHITI: EVENT UPDATE

posted by / News / May 9, 2005

HURRY UP AND WAIT AT THE BILLABONG PRO TAHITI

This morning here at Teahupoo, we’ll use that old Hawaiian line that gets hauled out of the linguistic cupboard when the waves go flat on the North Shore…”Hurry up and wait!”, and that around about sums up what we’re doing again in Tahiti today. Here we are, day four of the waiting period, day three without contestable conditions, and the swell has dropped even further, whilst the bucketing showers continue.

It’s around about now that the boys and girls of the ASP will start going a little stir crazy – if they haven’t begun the process all ready. It’s a wonderful thing that the Foster’s Men’s World Tour and ASP Women’s World Championship Tour now travels to mostly exotic locales to progressively conduct the dual WCT ratings battles, but one liability of some such exotic locales is that there’s not much to do when the swell decides to frequent some other locale, rather than the one we’ve taken over hoping to yield the best that particular reef has to offer for the world’s best surfers.

Teahupoo, Fiji and Hawaii are some such locations, though that’s particularly the case here in Tahiti. In Fiji, the surfers are interned on either the Namotu or Tavarua resorts, and there, paying US$270 per night for accommodation, they at least have satellite television with English programs, or can get out in groups and go fishing, or play tennis, or soak in the spa, or get on line and explore the internet.

The North Shore of Hawaii, without swell, can also send you around the twist, but if you’ve got a car and can tolerate what ‘normal’ citizens do, and drive to town (i.e. Honolulu) everyday, you’ll be spared of island madness. Instead of going to work, you can go and act like you’re on holidays.

“At least in Hawaii, you can go to town and watch a new release movie, or go shopping at the Ala Moana Centre, or watch English-speaking TV, but here…well, you can’t can you!” observed Joel Parkinson yesterday.

It’s true enough. Here at Teahupoo we’re a tedious mostly-winding and single lane {{{90}}} minute drive from Papette, and in a place where a hamburger costs something like US$12.50, it’s too expensive to go shopping, and the movies are all dubbed in French. Likewise television, unless you get CNN on cable where you are staying – and that gets beyond tedious in a real hurry.

The vast majority of the surfers are also without wheels here. Why? Because it costs around us$1500 per week to hire the tiniest matchbox car here. Still, we can confess of worse places to be stuck, and we can hardly expect you to be sympathetic tied to your work desk there in whatever city of the world.

The stir-crazy antics might have in-fact begun yesterday. The previous night I-Surf’s videoman Brooke Sylvester made a bet on his local rugby league team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. He is staying with Mick Lowe, the Hobgood brothers, Greg Emslie, Travis Logie and the unlikely photographic combination of Peter ‘Joli’ Wilson and Tim Jones. Their host is a fish farming fanatic, and has a large pen out the front of his property measuring about 3m x 18m, which is full of some species of saltwater carp.

Sylvester’s bet was that if the Rabbitohs lost, he’d swim the length of the carp pool with baguettes strapped to him. Mind you, when you throw one piece of bread in the same pool, the surface boils like a piranha-fest. The Rabbitohs lost, and so Sylvester dove in to validate his bet yesterday morning. Very honourable, but little did he know that Mick Lowe had ducked up to the local general store and bought several cans of tuna, which he threw in around Sylvester as soon as he hit the water. All of a sudden the piranha affect was in full swing, the boys almost wetting themselves with laughter.

So here today, as Brooke Sylvester recovers from multiple mini-bites to his tattoo-ed limbs, it’s Mother’s Day. As this photojournalist stumbled along the black sand and rocky foreshores this morning, from the End Of The Road to the Billabong Pro Tahitit press centre on the point, he came across a priceless scene. There was Billabong’s veteran warrior Mark Occhilupo (he shall not retire!!!) fossicking around the front garden of his rented abode, plucking a collection of flowers for his wife Mae. After I stopped chuckling, he looked up grinning, almost going red.

“Am I doing alright? I forgot to get a present for Jay to give Mae on Mother’s Day,” he confessed, after only yesterday being told that today was Mother’s Day.

At least today, with the contest again cancelled for the day, all the boys and girls of the tour will have plenty of time to ring their mothers, on this their special day of recognition. Now if only our Mother Ocean could be worthy of the same!

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