(Friday, August 13th 2010): The third in a series of complimentary event webisodes available in the lead up to stop number 5 on the 2010 ASP Men’s World Tour, the Billabong Pro presented by Air Tahiti Nui, is available now!
Teahupo’o is hardly considered a perfect wave, far from it, but in the 10-year history of the Billabong Pro, there have been plenty of perfect waves scored at the infamous break.
What does it take to get a 10-point ride at Teahupo’o? Well, commitment, a little luck and a helluva lot of skill.
Kelly Slater’s performance in 2005 tops the heap, the American became the first surfer to register a perfect 20/20 heat score and he did it in the final, capping one of the most memorable days ever seen in professional surfing.
The second of a series of complimentary event webisodes available in the lead up to stop number 5 on the 2010 ASP Men’s World Tour, the Billabong Pro presented by Air Tahiti Nui is available now!
The annual Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper trials (Aug 16th-19th, 2010) is the most prestigious trials invitational on the ASP Men’s World tour. Just the winner and the highest-placed Tahitian surfer are guaranteed a place in the Billabong Pro Main Event from a stacked field of 64 big-wave, barrel riding specialists.
Since the first Billabong Pro at Teahupo’o 10 years ago, the Air Tahiti VonZipper trials have been rewarded with some of the best surf ever seen at elite level. In surfing circles, the trials winner is lauded as a minor hero – required to put his life on the line inside the huge barrels that break across dangerously shallow, tropical reef - and the respect earned from his peers is on par with the eventual champion of the main event.
The Billabong Pro Wildcards also have a reputation for knocking off the top-seeded surfers. With little regard for world title ratings points, the wildcards have nothing to lose and everything to gain. As any one of them will tell you, when Teahupo’o is 10-foot and turning inside out, if you don’t have that attitude, you’ve got nothing!
“Teahupo’o” (pron: chee-yow-po) has been considered among the world’s most intimidating surf spots since its ‘outing’ a little over a decade ago. Male professional surfers have withdrawn from the competition in fear for their lives. Webisode 1 reveals Teahupo’o via a captivating visual montage that is set against a backdrop of comments from the surfers who have experienced Teahupo’o at its awesome best. It’s as much a horror movie film trailer as it is advertisement for one of sport’s true sporting spectacles.
TRANSPORTATION: Rent a car and have a boatman lined up. Good distance between the airport and the end of the road, and from there, it’s either a two mile paddle or a two minute boat ride - you decide.
ATTITUDE: Don’t bother bringing any because the wave is the one with the attitude here. Half the surfers are shaking in their shorts, the other half are shaking their heads in disbelief, and those in the channel are happy as clams - unless of course one of the sets swings wide, then they’re all buggered.
THE WAVE: Breaking 700 metres out to sea, “Chopes”, as the break is affectionately known, is one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces. The old lady reckoned placing a 100 metre drop-off just 50 metres away from a half-moon-shaped reef would create a phenomenon… and she was right. This treacherous, left to right peeling reef-break boasts thick, bone-crushing barrels accessible only via a very-vertical takeoff. Once standing upright all surfers need to do is survive being spat out of the tube 50 metres later and then avoid the teeth of the razor sharp reef which sits high and dry directly in front of the wave.
Billabong Pro Teahupoo Wipeouts
PERKS: Spend a day taming Teahupoo with your mates and you’ll likely reckon you can save the world next time the need arises.
PERILS: This wave has claimed lives in the past and comes eerily close to doing so on a regular basis.
APRES SURF: You survive a session out here, just walking around feels like a party. Not much in the way of nightlife but there’s always plenty of very friendly locals who are keen for a chin-wag.
ASP WORLD TOUR HISTORY: Beginning as an ASP WQS early in the peice then evolving into a WCT a few years later. Billabong joined the party in 1999 and the best of the best have been shaking in their shorts since.
NOTABLE: First off, there’s not much that’s not notable about this wave, but the most recent record there was set by Slater, who surfed the perfect heat, scoring the first-ever 20 out of a possible 20 points against Damien Hobgood during the final of the 2005 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Hobgood would have his revenge though, claiming the Billabong Pro Tahiti in 2007.
PAST BILLABONG PRO TEAHUPOO CHAMPS:
2008 Bruno Santos (BRA)
2007: Damien Hobgood (USA)
2006: Bobby Martinez (USA)
2005: Kelly Slater (USA)
2004: CJ Hobgood (USA)
2003: Kelly Slater (USA)
2002: Andy Irons (HAW)
2001: Cory Lopez (USA)
2000: Kelly Slater (USA)
1999: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)