Wildcards run riot at day one of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. The event completed Round 1 and the opening four heats of Round 2 at Teahupoo and during the closing tussles the favourites fell in triplicate.
It was a bit slow in parts, sometimes it pulsed, with the occasional bomb set. A frequency applicable to the bell-shaped distribution curve of a medium sized swell. I.e. the scoring waves are less frequent because the meat of the consistency is in the lower scoring echelons and surfers are only interested in the largest, and therefore less frequent, peak waves. When you hear comments like "it's not quite filled in" or "there were loads of waves in the freesurf and as soon as the heat starts the consistency drops." it often stems from this simple reason.
Anthony Walsh snagged a low frequency bomb for a 10 in Round 1 and then a couple more to get rid of Nat Young. However it wasn't an understanding of stats which dragged him over the foamball, Walshy has spent more time out here than almost anyone. "I knew that Nat had only been here once before and before I got my good wave I knew there was one behind which was going to be better so I sold me one which was pretty average. I was so stoked that he went because the next one was my eight-five."
John John Florence continued his impressive return to form, leaving Julian Wilson and Miguel Pupo in need of a combination of scores and everyone else terrified of the heat draw. “Waves were pretty fun, better than I thought it was going to be,” Florence said. “There’s a weird wind chop on it. The other heats were more consistent and had the double-ups and I got that one 9. I was able to get a backup and do a couple of turns, so I’m stoked. Tahiti is always fun and always beautiful. Happy to be here.”
Event organisers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 7am start and will probably see a similarly sized, declining swell. A reinforcing pulse is forecast to start to push in on Saturday afternoon which might well see some great looking waves, wind permitting. Sunday will see this swell reinforced with a pulse of small, longer period swell and should be the best complete day. Monday sees this swell in gradual decline. Looking at the forecast beyond that it is a lot less organised with potential for unfavourable winds. By this time the event could be close to a conclusion.
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.67, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.63, Nat Young (USA) 3.13
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.07, Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.80, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 10.00
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.93, Alain Riou (PYF) 11.33, Travis Logie (ZAF) 6.57
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.06, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.17, Anthony Walsh (AUS) 14.83
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.00, Ian Walsh (HAW) 13.83, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.43
Heat 6: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.77, Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.60, Jocelyn Poulou (PYF) 8.80
Heat 7: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.60, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.00
Heat 8: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.07, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.13, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.67
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.16, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.87, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.37
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.50, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.27, Adam Melling (AUS) 11.10
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW) 16.57, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.17, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.17
Heat 12: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.16, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.93, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 2.60
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.37 def. Jocelyn Poulou (PYF) 10.50
Heat 2: Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.40 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 8.00
Heat 3: Anthony Walsh (AUS) 15.43 def. Nat Young (USA) 13.10
Heat 4: Alain Riou (PYF) 12.03 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.77
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Heat 6: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Patrick Guduaskas (USA)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
HEAT 8: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
HEAT 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
HEAT 11: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
HEAT 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)