THE Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui, Stop No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, got underway in solid conditions over the weekend. Day one saw overhead barrels rolling down the reef allowing tube riding specialists to demonstrate their ability to make sections rather than the typical Teahhupoo death drill of drop in, hang on and hope for the best. Click through HERE for video highlights of the first round.
The most talked about wildcard, former champion Andy Irons, who is on sabbatical from full-time competition this season, a wildcard into the Billabong Pro Tahiti, where the powerful Hawaiian dispatched of Brazilian Jihad Khodr netting an impressive 8.67 out of a possible 10 for a sizzling backhand pit.
Also of note was Marlon Lipke's step-up to form. His bold forehand approach saw the young goofy-footer collect strong scores of a 7.17 and a 7.83, blending excellent wave sense and tube knowledge with aggressive carves and top turns, as he advanced into Round 2.
Lumpy four-foot (1.5 metre) swell and onshore winds replaced the near-perfection of Saturday. The forecast promises to be better over the coming days and event organizers have opted to wait for more favourable conditions.
REMAINING BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 15: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 16: Roy Powers (HAW) vs. Mick Campbell (AUS)
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Phillip MacDonald (AUS)
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 3: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. TBA
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. TBA
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Heiarii Williams (PYF)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
Heat 10: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. TBA
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Dustin Barca (HAW)
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. TBA
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. TBA
Heat 15: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Tim Boal (FRA)
More from the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui is available here www.billabongpro.com.
For more information on the ASP, log onto www.aspworldtour.com.
I just tried to position myself well and try to get the set waves or rather the best one in the set. To read it right and get deep in the tube. The secret is actually not taking off at the peak, but a little behind the peak so that you can edge into it. Just take off and hold on - that's all you can do.Dean Morrison
The win feels good - It's been four months since I put a jersey on and it still fits. Surfing fun-sized Teahupoo with one other guy out, I've no complaints. I'm stoked to get through and looking forward to the next one. Andy Irons
I knew I was going to have a wildcard heading into this event and I wasn't sure who, but you just have to stick to your game plan and not worry about it. I think you can tell which waves are going to be really hollow - they're thicker and they stand up on the reef a bit more. Those are the ones you've got to get. It was a big heat for me and I'm really pleased to get through.Kai Otten
IT was a chess match out there and Bruno won the whole thing last year so it was never going to be easy. Fortunately for me, I was able to get the better of Bruno (Santos) on a few waves and I'm extremely happy. Kai Otten
The Hawaiians just gave me that nickname, 'Master', and I'm pretty happy to get through that heat and I hope to keep going. Winning the trials was great but this is better - I just feel natural out there. It's great for me because all the locals are here in the channel, screaming my name and it makes me feel really comfortable.Heiarii Williams
It was the last heat of the day and I'm stoked to stoked to get through. There are no easy heats here and as we paddled out it turned on and a few good waves started to come through. You've got to forget about your opponent here, it's you against the wave.Josh Kerr
Tiago got one amazing wave, a 9 plus and he was unlucky not to back it up with another great score. I know how good he is at barrel riding. Someone was looking after me that heat.Josh Kerr
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