Billabong Pro Tahiti 2005 - WCT

18 May 2005 0 Share

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Taj Burrow slots into the Quarter Finals

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Taj Burrow slots into the Quarter Finals

Teahupoo has again lived up to its awesome reputation as the wave of waves, the fearsome reef combining with ever increasing deep ocean swells to give us another unforgettable day in the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Against all adversity, with everything from power failures to torrential downpours thrown into the mix, we witnessed a stunning day of surfing here at Teahupoo as the third round of the prime Billabong event was completed in picture perfect 4-10’ waves in weather conditions that were eons from perfect.

It rained so much here this afternoon that you could been excused for bursting into song, for you may as well have been standing under the shower. The screaming we’re referring to was the regular commotion that came not just from the drenched spectators in the channel, or the hoarse commentators, but from the Foster’s Men’s World Tour surfers themselves as they hurtled from barrel after unbelievable barrel. Man, what an experience for all!

As the weather worsened all day, and the contest machine continued on against the odds, the waves just got better and better, and the surfers got deeper and deeper. The judges awarded four perfect 10-point rides, the stars being Cory Lopez (USA), Kalani Robb (HAW), Paulo Moura (BRZ), and Tom Whitaker AUS). Now there is an indication of the talent spread right across our surfing world! There were also eighteen of nine-plus rides scored today.

Even more exciting was the number of last minute exchanges as surfers risked life and limb chasing points on the whimsical beat of the ocean swells. In these kinds of conditions, the surfers’ fortunes can be switched in the milli-seconds it takes a wave to pitch.

A surfer leading by something as high as nine points is still not safe because at any moment his opponent could reap a perfect ten. It was suspenseful competitive stuff all day long

We started out this morning at 8.19am after a radically severe change in the weather caused logistical and climatic chaos and a delay to the hoped kick-off time of 8.00am. It was amazing that organisers managed to get the show on the road at all.

After tranquil but still treacherous 6-8’ conditions in the early free-surf session, blustery onshore winds rose to chop the lineup to shreds just after 7am, and brought turmoil to the Billabong tower on the reef as torrential showers pelted in horizontally over computer, public address and webcast technical equipment.

After battening down the proverbial hatches and getting heat one rolling, we were first up treated to the typical mastery of Kelly Slater (USA) as he comfortably scooted by Oxnard’s Tim Curran (USA), the six-times world champion somehow managing a high 9+ barrel in completely messed up conditions.

ASP Tour Manager Renato Hickel commented after the competition today that only Slater could have done what he did on that conservatively assessed nine pointer, and that, but for it being the third wave of the day ridden, it would have been awarded a ten. Judges have to be traditionally cautious early in the day as they establish appraisal parameters.

“Slater took off under a storm tossed eight foot slab and somehow found a barrel that he ran through like nobody else could have. It was incredible!” testified Hickel.

Next came San Clemente’s Chris Ward (USA), pitched against rising legend Bruce Irons (HAW), the pair opting to ride short boards, so messy were the waves. Ward revealed yesterday that he was restricted by a sprained ankle, but you wouldn’t have thought so today as the unpredictable natural footer threw his board around with class and commitment today, albeit without length of ride. It wasn’t enough, and ‘Bruce brilliance’ shone.

By mid-morning, the wind had dropped and was swinging. For the balance of the day it span the compass, but for the most part it was favourable, persistently ESE, which is mostly offshore in its aspect, during the later afternoon. The wind was combining with the waves to offer the most potent

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