Things flip-flop at Teahupoo as Julian stays "less stressed" while Taj Burrow snaps a board in round 2 versus wildcard Ian Walsh.
Kelly Slater made the list but isn't number 1.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti kicked off on Thursday at Teahupoo. The waves weren't Code Red incredible, but Chopes still delivered some gems for the ASP's top surfers. Kelly Slater, Kieran Perrow, John John Florence, and Mick Fanning all scored exceptional waves, but it was Anthony Walsh's perfect 10 that earned the ride of the day.
Damn right he claimed it.
Kalani Chapman is no stranger when it comes to surfing massive tubes. But this drainer at Teahupoo in Tahiti stands out. We're so used to seeing Chopes from the channel where you often lose the surfer for a moment when he exits the wave because it breaks below sea level. Seeing Chapman's wave from behind make you realize that it really is true that there are tubes that you can drive a bus through.
Joel Parkinson, John John Florence and other ASP pros explain the do's and don'ts of Tahiti's famous break.
With the Billabong Pro Tahiti set to take place, some of the top surfers on the ASP World Tour offered up their thoughts on things to do avoid when surfing at Teahupoo. The wave produces some of the most epic rides, but it also doles out plenty of beatings. Florence's advice to not go right is a no-brainer and so is Parkinson's tip to not be a part of the lip. Freddy Pattachia offers up the most helpful hint when he suggests that Chopes surfers make love to the wave.
As long as it's on a legit wave.
Pro surfer Mick Fanning is no stranger to throwing up his arms or pumping his fist after a successful wave. Fanning isn't claiming it for the fans on the beach or the ones watching the webcast. Much like a tennis player, Fanning claims it as a way to pump himself up and as a release after heaping so much pressure on himself to perform on the ASP world tour. There are limits, though. Fanning recalls that former pro surfer Taylor Knox firmly believed that if a surfer claimed it on a wave that scored anything lower than an 8, that he should be deducted points.
Besides being an 11-time world champ, Slater can also see the future.
Nathan Fletcher rode the gnarliest wave ever at Teahupoo in 2011 and went on win the Billabong XXL award. The story behind the wave is a lot more than getting towed into an incredibly deep, tractor-trailer-sized barrel. Before catching the wave at Teahupoo, Fletcher had lost two very close friends, Andy Irons and Sion Milosky. He bounced back but arrived in Tahiti more prepared for a vacation. Fletcher saw Kelly Slater while checking the break and Slater told him that he thought the biggest Teahupoo wave would be ridden that day. Fletcher had no idea he'd be the one to do it. Even after his ride, he didn't know how big it was and was confused when his idols, like Mick Fanning, congratulated him. It wasn't until Bruce Irons sent Fletcher a picture of the wave that he knew what he had done.
The 11-time world champion needed a rescue from his rescue at the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
You don't see a lot of videos of Kelly Slater wiping out. No, Slater doesn't have so much power that he is able to strong arm surf photographers and videographers into destroying the footage. (Although that would make for a great conspiracy theory.) The real reason is that Slater just doesn't do it that much. But Slater wrecked himself a couple of times at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. In the fourth round he was trapped inside at Teahupoo. A Jet-Ski came to rescue him but a wave broke over the ski pinning Slater between it and Teahupoo's treacherous reef. After getting out from under the Jet-Ski, Slater had to walk across the reef to get back to the lineup. Then in the quarterfinals, Slater suffered a more traditional wipeout and had a grade 1 tear in his left shoulder. Despite the pounding, Slater was in good spirits after losing to Ace Buchan in the final and is focused on getting healthy in time for the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles in a few weeks.
Big waves, big problems.
Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle is one of the premier big wave surfers in the world. What that means is that if there's swell, he's there. It doesn't matter if it's Christmas day or his wife or his son's birthday. Everything comes second to big waves. While that probably sucks for Burle's wife and kid, it does mean we get to see Burle travel to Teahupo'o for the massive swell earlier this year and drop in on some bombs.
Despite losing in final, Slater takes overall lead in ASP title chase.
Once Kelly Slater reaches a final, engravers usually start etching his name into the trophy. But Adrian "Ace" Buchan managed to defeat Slater at the Billabong Pro Tahiti with some deep pits that the 11-time ASP WCT champ couldn't match. It wasn't all bad news for Slater. His second place finish at Teahupoo gave him enough points to overtake the lead in the race for the title with four events left to go.