These are the conditions they are waiting for in Tahiti…
… but a 3rd lay day passes with no surfing at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the fifth event of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season. The waves have dwindled to an unexciting 3 – 4 ft (1 – 1.5 m), a far cry from what Teahupoo normally delivers. But what a stunning place to have to hang out. And it looks like it won’t be long before Teahupoo delivers the perfect conditions for the Championships. The forecast is predicting outstanding surf with waves expected to reach up to four metres by Thursday. “We’re tracking a significant swell period on the charts that could arrive as early as Wednesday afternoon, but likely Thursday,” said Pritamo Ahrendt, ASP International Head Judge. “We’ll see what comes in the morning.”
It hasn’t been all gloom and doom to date though. Day One got off to a good start and the world’s best surfers completed Round 1 in clean four-to-six foot waves. American CJ Hobgood was the standout performer with a near-perfect display of tube-riding.
Make no mistake, this legendary wave is possibly the world’s most dangerous and is certainly its heaviest, but as such it is a magnet for the world’s best surfers and a must for top surf contests. It’s a brute though and you cannot afford to tackle it without bucket loads of confidence and an equal amount of respect. She is fueled by The Roaring Forties and since no land stands in its way, the wave, when she works, does it in grand style . If Teahupoo (pronounced cho-po) is really pumping, she makes Hawaii’s Pipeline look tame and all she needs is a light wind of 5 knots to get going. However, a Southwest swell coupled with a wind that has some west in it is the combination that really works for her and the best season to surf Teahupoo is April through to October.
She has a heavy short lefthander which breaks in the same spot no matter how big she gets, but she is especially renowned for the consistent barrels created by a reef break. The heavy waves combined with a shallow shoreline can result in serious injuries and even death so only the fittest and most able surfers surf this mother.
It’s not restricted to surfers either. Some of the world’s top windsurfers have also played on it, windsurfers such as Jason Polakow and Levi Siver. Even kitesurfers have had their fun. Jeremie Eloy, Julien Sudrat and Yannick Salmon were the first kitesurfers to ride Teahupoo in September 2006.