Teahupoo, a wave where wildcards typically do well, proved more suited to Foster's 45 competitors this afternoon with top-seeded surfers eliminating each of the four event wildcards in the three foot (one metre) waves on offer.
Damien Hobgood's (USA) convincing elimination of local wildcard Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) earned him a Round 3 berth and the highest heat total of the day – a 17.36 out of 20.00.
"I'm just really stoked I made that heat," Hobgood said. "I think we sat there for 20-minutes, and since I had a couple of scores, I was praying it would just go flat. I knew going into the heat that it didn't matter if it was big or small, Hira was going to be competing really well and I was going to have to step it up."
Teriinatoofa advanced to the quarterfinals before being beaten by eventual runner-up Fred Patacchia last year. Hobgood finished runner-up to reigning ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the 2005 Billabong Pro Tahiti final.
Current World No. 1 Taj Burrow (AUS) credited today's smaller surf as an ally in his defeat of Tahitian wildcard Manoa Drollet (PYF) in Heat 1.
"The bigger it gets the better Manoa gets," Burrow said. "He's lethal when it gets big so I'd have to say I had an advantage at this size. I rode a good little short board I had a mate fly over the other day, so right now, I'd say that was a good decision!"
Burrow, who is currently tied with Mick Fanning (AUS) as Foster's ASP World Tour ratings leader, insisted that he is concentrating on his own movements, not Fanning's.
Fanning avoided Round 2 sudden death with his victory over Raoni Monteiro (BRA) and Anthony Walsh (HAW) on Day 1.
"It doesn't bother me at all that Mick made his first heat and I didn't because it's early days in the year and early days in the event and you have to take it heat by heat," Burrow said. "I'm thinking about every heat I surf in, not whether Mick gets to skip a round or not – that really doesn't phase me much. It wouldn't bother me if I were to drop down to No. 2 on the ratings because it's a long year and I've got time to get a few keepers, a few results, and I'm planning on winning events. I'm not too concerned about staying No. 1 – I just want to be No. 1 at the end when it matters."
Bede Durbidge (AUS), who sits just behind Fanning and Burrow in the ratings, also advanced today – his Round 2 clash with Hawaiian Anthony Walsh his first against a wildcard given his recently elevated top-seed status.
"That was the first time I've surfed against a wildcard on the World Tour and Anthony is an amazing barrel rider." Durbidge said. "I saw him in the trials and he was unbelievable, I couldn't believe how well he was surfing. Luckily today was tiny and there were hardly any barrels, but it was still a tough heat. You've got to just keep getting through every heat if you want to stay in the Top 5 because you know those guys are going to make their heats – I just want to keep the momentum going."
Victor Ribas (BRA) relegated Phil Macdonald (AUS) to the loser's round with an outstanding 9.67 wave score – the highest of the event thus far – in the final heat of the day. Ribas' Round 2 win was critical considering he's started the year off with two last place finishes.
"I've already have two bad results," Ribas said. "The count this year is going to drop your two lowest results and I need to do better than 33rds. At this time of the tour, the third contest, I have to get out of the 33rds and get good results and think about the rest of the year. I cannot make mistakes anymore."
Ribas, along with Troy Brooks (AUS) were the only two lower-seeded surfers to cause upsets today. Brooks beat Ben Dunn (AUS), who despite being a rookie, came into the Billabong Pro Tahiti World No. 6 after starting the year with semi and quarterfinal finishes.
Brooks' heat win today was his first of the 2007 Foster's ASP World Tour season.
"It almost felt like I won a contest there as it's the first heat of the year I've gotten through," Brooks said. "I've sprouted a few grey hairs there as it was a pretty frustrating heat but I'm happy I've come out on top."
Elite tour returnee Mick Campbell (AUS) and fellow Aussies Tom Whitaker and Danny Wills also won their heats today.
Eight heats of Round 2 remain and a 7:00 call for a possible 7:30 start will be made tomorrow morning.
ROUND 2 BILLABONG PRO TAHITI RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.03 def. Manoa Drollet (PYF) 8.00
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.17 def. Anthony Walsh (AUS)7.20
Heat 3: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.27 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 3.83
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) 17.36 def. Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) 12.00
Heat 5: Daniel Wills 13.83 (AUS) def. Luke Munro (AUS) 9.17
Heat 6: Michael Campbell 16.67 (AUS) def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 12.77
Heat 7: Troy Brooks (AUS) 10.66 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.80
Heat 8: Victor Ribas 16.34 (BRA) def. Phillip Macdonald (AUS) 12.74
REMAINING ROUND 2 BILLABONG PRO TAHITI MATCH-UPS:
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) vs. Trent Munro (AUS)
Heat 10: Frederick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Shaun Cansdell (AUS)
Heat 11: Greg Emslie (ZAF) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 12: Leonardo Neves (BRA) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 13: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 14: Cory Lopez (USA) vs. Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 15: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 16: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Michael Lowe (AUS)