TEAHUPOO, Tahiti (Thursday, May 8, 2008) Today is the first of an 11-day waiting period for the Billabong Pro Tahiti but the ASP Top 45 and event wildcards will not paddle out for their Round 1 heats today. Contest Director Luke Egan eyed conditions all morning before opting to call things off for the day.
"We had a good look at it and we are opting not to run today, Egan said. I watched it for an hour last night and if it looked like that this morning then I was definitely going to run. Time is on our side with the waiting period so we are going to utilize it fully."
Conditions are forecasted to stay small over the next few days which is good news for at least one surfer defending champion Damien Hobgood (USA). Hobgood suffered an injury freesurfing at Teahupoo a few weeks ago and is still nursing a sore shoulder. The more time he has to heal increases the likelihood he will be able to compete.
Remarkably, its been years since each and every member of the Top 45 have been slated to surf an event injury, personal lives and travel issues often intervene. At this juncture, all elite tour surfers are seeded into the draw. Among them, after spending much of the past two years on the injury list himself, is Timmy Reyes (USA).
"Im definitely back at 100%, Reyes said. I just found my good surfing rhythm within Australia. I felt like I was surfing pretty good over there, I just had a couple of tough breaks but that is what happens when you surf against the worlds top surfers. Im just stoked to be back to 100%, if not better, and I cant wait for the contest to start. Im stoked to be here."
Reyes will meet 2007 ASP Rookie of the Year Jeremy Flores (FRA) and South Africas Travis Logie in Heat 4 of Round 1.
The surfers and event staff enjoyed a traditional Tahitian welcome complete with belly dancing and fire twirling last night. Todays activities will likely include kayaking, fishing, hiking and napping.
Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow, Friday, May 9, at 7am.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti will be webcast LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com and www.billabongpro.com.
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Dean Morrison (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Tim Reyes (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 5: Andy Irons (HAW), Ben Dunn (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dayyan Neve (AUS), Chris Ward (USA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Jamie OBrien (HAW)
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Jay Thompson (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 13: Taylor Knox (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 14: Luke Stedman (AUS), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Michael Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Dane Reynolds (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Neco Padaratz (BRA), Bruce Irons (HAW), Daniel Wills (AUS)