2005 BILLABONG PRO TAHITI: ROUND TWO COMPLETE

posted by / News / May 16, 2005

BIG WEST SWELL BOMBARDS ROUND TWO AT TEAHUPOO


Teahupo’o edged towards its dangerous best today as the Billabong Pro Tahiti continued its march hunting a result, with a new west swell kicking in for the sudden death round two heats of the Foster’s Men’s World Tour event. Solid 2m (4-6’++) slabs of water, with some bomb sets from the west, saw conditions become critical on the end section as surfers tried to escape from the wrapping barrel.

As usual the Foster’s Men’s World Tour Top 45 matched the spectacular waves with the commitment and skill that you expect from the world’s best. It was an awesome Teahupoo day and the best is yet to come, with a fresh south-west swell pushing 3m expected for the final two days of competition.

The round two heroes were many and varied in the challenging conditions, but one of the undisputed kings of this incredible wave, Cory Lopez, was the day’s most consistently brilliant performer.

There’s not a whole lot to Florida’s 5’10”150lb younger version of the Lopez brothers, in fact you might even call him a bit on the skinny side, but for what he lacks in meat and mass, he makes up for with heart beat and bravado.

Bagging the enviable scores of 9.7 and 9.23 in the first four minutes of his round two heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti against Toby ‘Murderer’ Martin, Cory continued his ride further into the ASP’s pro surfing history books as the man to beat in Teahupoo’s chunderous caverns. Yes, we call his opponent Murderer, or Murdz, for the chilling gazes he is capable of, but today, sorry, Dee Why’s Murdz got murdered.

With eight minutes remaining Lopez added insult to injury throwing away his 9.23 after an unbelievably deep, long and critical run along the reef, coming out after the fire-hydrant wave spit. He scored a 9.93 to amass a heat score of 19.63, not just the highest of the day and the event so far, but just 0.3 from the record of the highest ever two-wave heat score in ASP annals.

Lopez also went back to back with his elder brother Shea who won the preceding heat in the dying seconds of his showdown with Australia’s Richie Lovett. The Lopez bras are on a roll.

“I took the momentum off my brother’s win,” said Cory. “I’m stoked! I guess I just got lucky starting off the heat with two nines so quickly”.


“It’s perfect out there, and you’ve just got to know which ones to pick, and luckily I picked a couple of good ones. The 9.93 finish was pretty unreal. The wave just bottomed out and drained perfectly off the reef”.

“A lot of the bigger ones haven’t been that hollow, but that one hit the reef perfectly, and held up, and held up, and hit the inside shelf and drained really square. It was perfect and I just came right out.”

The highest wave score of the day went down in the last heat of the day as Brazil’s Neco Padaratz overcame his phobias of nearly drowning here five years ago and charged like he wanted to drown today. He and Australia’s young rookie Bede Durbidge had an exceptional heat as the swell relentlessly stormed through as Sunday’s sunset approached.

Their exchange started with Durbidge logging an 8.3, but Padaratz went one better on the wave behind to score 8.83, followed by a back-up mid-six wave. He then lost priority taking a west peak that didn’t pitch a barrel. Bede then duplicated Padaratz blunder, but got out of the wave quick enough to get back to the take-off zone and grab priority.

Durbidge needed a 7.5, but came up short with a 7.43 on his next wave, Neco inheriting priority. The firey Brazilian missed the first wave of the next set and handed priority back to the rookie, who scored an 8.07 leaving Padaratz hunting a high score, but again holding the all important joker card of priority.

Driven like the maniac he can be, Padaratz’s chance came as one of the biggest waves of the day stormed in amongst the huge flotilla of craft in the channel. Padaratz turned and stroked into the monster, dropping incredibly late, almost with the pitching lip. A split second after he landed at the bottom of the threatening wall, the guillotine lip shaved his curly locks by millimetres, adding drama for all.

He pulled up with perfect positioning and timing to park himself in the spiralling pit and charged through the first section, but he was late for the next section and disappeared from view, looking to be impossibly deep as the wave clicked up a gear. The crowd in the channel collectively sighed, but seconds later the talented natural footer charged from the deep groins of the incredible wave.

Padaratz got five ten-point scores across the board, and the 2005 Billabong Pro Tahiti had its first perfect score, leaving Durbidge solidly comboed. Unperturbed, the young Stradbroke Island surfer racked up 9.30 on his final wave a minute before the final hooter, to break the double figures he needed, but it obviously wasn’t enough to deny the Brazilian his right to round three.

It was a drama packed day even before dawn. Current Foster’s Men’s World Tour ratings leader Trent Munro (AUS) was up at 4am, pacing his bedroom, punching the air proclaiming “Game on! Game on!” and raring to go. Four hours later he was paddling out to take on Tahiti’s accomplished surfing soul Manoa Drollet.

Opening with an 8.17, and eventually backing up with a score of 6.83, Munro got by the local who opened with a no-hands 8.5 pit, but thereafter failed to emerge from much he pulled into.

“There was no way I was going to take him lightly, and I think I played my game well,” said Munro. “He was unlucky to get caught on a couple of those barrels he pulled in on the inside. I guess that’s just the way it goes”.


The drama continued in the second heat with Damien Hobgood (USA) hunting anything that moved on the inside at the heat’s outset, while Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper trials wildcard Liam McNamara decided to wait for the sets.

McNamara’s tactical choice ended up being an error, but Damien had a choice to make as well, half way through the heat, flying through the air after escaping the closing keyhole of a racing west pit. Zeroing in from a mid-air trajectory over the back of the wave, on both a jet ski and one of the photo boats.

Hobgood chose the jet ski, manned by Hawaii’s big wave legend Brock Little. The sickened thud as his hip and thigh hit the fibreglass hull had the channel watchers agape fearing the worst, but the 25 year-old Floridian took it in his stride, returning to the lineup to finish his job and move to round three. He almost seemed embarrassed by everyone’s concern.

“I had plenty of time to react. It was a decision to either hit the boat or hit the ski,” said Hobgood. “There was a boat behind Brock, deeper, and it was either try and miss Brock and go straight into the back of the boat, running propellers and all, or aim for the ski.”

“I took the ski option because it’s a smaller and a little more forgiving thing to hit. It was unfortunate thing; it’s really west today and the swell is coming right out of the channel and there’s not much room. It can happen to anyone.”

“I was fortunate enough to hit it with the best part of my body. I saw it coming, so I threw my butt at it, and you know, it’s not broken…whatever, I think it’s going to be fine,” said Damien before heading to shore to be checked by the doctors just the same.

The two trials wildcards were thereby dispensed, but Billabong’s local wildcard Hira Teriinatoofa had other ideas when it came to his following heat with former event runner-up Luke Egan. Like McNamara, Egan waited for the sets, but they didn’t come.

Chasing Hira’s 9.{{{57}}} top score for a medium sized, but long and deep barrel, and a seven plus backup, Egan’s patience was never rewarded. With less than two minutes remaining, he eventually pulled into a long clean pit, but never emerged, appearing to be content to enjoy the view inside as a consolation prize.

Just as the swell settled into more regularity later in the day, nine point rides came thick and fast. Tom Whitaker was brilliant bagging a 9.73 and back-up eight plus to thwart a strong charge from Huntington rookie Tim Reyes, while San Clemente’s Chris Ward got one back for the USA in the following heat trouncing Australia’s Luke Stedman.

Australia’s Lee Winkler rallied late to take out 2000 World Champion Sunny Garcia with a committed effort, while Hawaii’s second round best went to rookie Fred Patacchia Jnr, who surfed like a master banking two nine-plus rides to finish the skilful backhand efforts of Shane Beschen, who also now lives on the North Shore.


South Africa’s Greg Emslie had a shocker getting washed over the reef and into the lagoon on his first wave, and things didn’t get much better as Dean Morrison (AUS) marched on with maniacal commitment. The Springboks on the wild continent will be stoked though to hear that their Durban rookie Travis Logie set new standards in commitment and once and for all blew away any doubts about his worthiness in big waves. The kid went mad.

Logie drew Australia’s already established charger Phil Macdonald, but the young goofy footer from South Africa obviously wasn’t interested in reputations, other than disproving the doubters of his own testosterone. He went seriously crazy, including a 9.9 on his last wave.

“I’m very chuffed! I’ve never surfed Teahupoo over one foot before, and so that was first time out there in ‘real’ Teahupoo waves,” said Logie.

“I was really nervous before the heat, sitting and watching in the channel, so I’m stoked I got the jitters out and showed the world that I can surf waves like this. I’m stoked!”

“That 9.9 final ride was quite a deep-ish one,” said Logie in full understatement mode.

“I could see the wall building up all the way down the reef, so I just pumped my board as much as I could in the barrel. At one stage I didn’t think I was going to make it, and then I got a late burst of speed, and I came out. It was such a lovely wave”.

That’s it folks. Teahupoo makes and breaks, or shames and sometimes even lames. This is the place of pace, and it all continues tomorrow with round three with the starting time to be called at 6.30am. The beat goes on…the beat of racing hearts.

The Billabong Pro Tahiti delivered by Air Tahiti Nui is proudly supported by Von Zipper, Bose, Kustom and The Tahitian Surfing Federation.

Billabong Pro Live Webcast: via www.BillabongPro.com and www.ASPWorldTour.com each day of the event utilizing live coverage in English, French and Portuguese, with the event websites being translated into these three languages plus, Japanese and Spanish. Various camera angles, highlights and replays, weather and scoring information, direct viewer interaction, celebrity guests, interviews and more are a part of the daily webcast program.

ROUND 2 RESULTS:

Heat # 1
Trent Munro def. Manoa Drollet

Heat # 2
Damien Hobgood def. Liam McNamara

Heat # 3
Hira Teriinatoofa def. Luke Egan

Heat # 4
Daniel wills def. Renan Rocha

Heat # 5
Mark Occhilupo def. Kirk Flintoff

Heat # 6
Tom Whitaker def. Tim Reyes

Heat # 7
Chris Ward def. Luke Stedman

Heat # 8
Shea Lopez def. Richard Lovett

Heat # 9
Cory Lopez def. Toby Martin

Heat #10
Lee Winkler def. Sunny Garcia

Heat #11
Tim Curran def. Troy Brooks

Heat #12
Travis Logie def. Phillip MacDonald

Heat #13
Dean Morrison def. Greg Emslie

Heat #14
Victor Ribas def. Jake Paterson

Heat #15
Fredrick Patacchia def. Shane Beschen

Heat #16
Neco Padaratz def. Bede Durbidge

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