TEAHUPOO, Tahiti (Thursday, May 3rd, 2007) – The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Teahupoo begins tomorrow, May 4, and a solid swell forecast to build overnight may see the ASP Foster's 45 hit the water as soon as early as 7:30am.
Former World Tour stalwart turned Billabong Pro Teahupoo event director Luke Egan (AUS) is hoping to get the action for event No. 3 on the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour underway on the first day of the 11-day waiting period.
"For the opening day of the waiting period, we're telling everyone that we're going to be pushing extremely hard for a start tomorrow morning," Egan said. "Surfline is indicating that the bump is coming tonight and it will be enough to get us a start tomorrow morning. We're looking at sitting through a bit of average weather with average swell so we're pushing very hard to get the first heat out in the water at 7:30am Tahitian time."
Local surfer Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF), 25, was awarded the Billabong Pro Teahupoo wildcard for his stunning performances in previous years. Teriinatoofa will join Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials winner Manoa Drollet (PYF) and runner-up Anthony Walsh (AUS) in the main event.
"I am really happy to get the wildcard but I kind of wish I would have been in the Trials too because they had such great surf," Teriinatoofa said. "I am back in there and my goal is to beat the result I got last year. I have got to do better than that. Once I do that, I will just take it day by day."
The young Tahitian, who lost to Fred Pattachia (HAW) in the quarters last year, will have his work cut out for him when he draws current Foster's ASP World Tour ratings leader Taj Burrow (AUS) and '07 rookie sensation Jeremy Flores (FRA) in his Round 1 heat.
Locals taking it all in from the famous Teahupoo channel will no doubt be cheering wildly when their home-grown hero paddles out for his Heat 10 battle.
"The local advantage here is really cool because having all the people here to cheer for me makes it really comfortable," Teriinatoofa said. "It doesn't matter if there are big names in my heat or not. They are all good anyway – they are all Top 45, that's why they're here. I just need to be careful and not be overconfident. I'm just going to take it one by one and with the support of Tahiti, I hope to do well."
When action hits the water, past Billabong Pro Teahupoo champions Bobby Martinez (USA), Andy Irons (HAW), Kelly Slater (USA), Cory Lopez (USA) and Mark Occhilupo (AUS) will be looking to once again take top honors at what is widely considered 'the world's heaviest wave.'
Surfline.com, the official forecaster of the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, is calling for surf to remain in the head-high range tomorrow before dropping slightly over the weekend. It is very possible that Round 1 of competition may hit the water at 7:30am local time.
ROUND 1 BILLABONG PRO TEAHUPOO MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bobby Martinez (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Shaun Cansdell (AUS)
Heat 2: Bruce Irons (HAW), Chris Ward (USA), Trent Munro (AUS)
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Victor Ribas (BRA)
Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Greg Emslie (ZAF), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 7: Andy Irons (HAW), Frederick Patacchia (HAW), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Phillip Macdonald (AUS), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Anthony Walsh (AUS)
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF)
Heat 11: Daniel Wills (AUS), Cory Lopez (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 12: Michael Campbell (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Bernardo Miranda (BRA)
Heat 13: Ben Dunn (AUS), Ricky Basnett (ZAF), Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 14: Travis Logie (ZAF), CJ Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 15: Taylor Knox (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS), Michael Lowe (AUS), Luke Stedman (AUS)