Observations From Teahupoo

The 2010 Billabong Pro, Tahiti Champion Andy Irons. Photo: JOli
The 2010 Billabong Pro, Tahiti Champion Andy Irons. Photo: Joli

Andy’s Back.
It took a while, there have been hiccups, but after getting, first his surfing back and then his focus, AI was as good as he’s ever been. If he had won in 10 foot surf, that would be great and all, but it would’ve been predictable because his talent in those conditions is out of this world. Winning in tame inconsistent surf took everything he’s learned in 20 years of surfing contests. And now that all those old circuits are firing in his head again, you can expect a world champion caliber performance every time he puts a jersey on.

Kelly’s a winner.
He’s not leading the ratings…yet. But winners create moments that will ultimately lead them towards achieving their goals. Kelly’s goal this year is without a doubt getting his 10th world title. He would’ve loved a victory in Tahiti, but a 3rd place finish when no other title contender advanced past the Round 4 was much needed—especially after faltering at J-Bay. The moment everyone will remember from Kelly’s run in the Billabong Pro this year was his perfect 10 in the quarterfinals. A lot will be said of that wave, and it will all be true. What I got from watching him perform on that wave was not only that one perfect moment, but the memory and appreciation flooding back from hundreds of other perfect moments he’s allowed us to ride along with him and share during his career. If anyone has any doubt of Kelly’s ability at this stage in his life they shouldn't. He is surfing better than ever.

CJ never went anywhere.
He just had a few bad boards after getting his quiver stolen in France. CJ can do it all. He makes surfing heats look easy. If there was more lefts on tour he’d be a serious world title contender every year.

After getting an interference in Round 1, CJ Hobgood found his A-game and finished with a second place. Photo: Joli
After getting an interference in Round 1, CJ Hobgood found his A-game and finished in second place. Photo: Joli

Freddy P. is solid.

Solid in his surfing, solid in the use of his words. And he's moving up in the rankings after a quarterfinal appearance. Another surfer that would jump to the top of the pack if there were more lefts were on tour. He's methodical on his backhand, yet deadly on his frontside. A win at Teahupoo or Pipe should be coming soon.

Patrick Guduaskas is flipping out
Literally, in his heat to move into the safety of the top 32, and mentally at the thought of being 22nd in the world. You see 22nd is a very important number for the rest of the year. 22 is the new 28—and everyone is either scared of falling below 22 or aiming to jump up into the top 22. Pat is 22 for now and life couldn't be better. As the only surfer on the WT staying in Tahiti after the comp to practice for next year by surfing a real swell forecasted to hit in a few days, you can count on him to keep rising up the rankings with hard work and determination.

Billabong, Luke Egan, and the ASP squeaked one
By the hair on their chinny chin chin. With just enough swell, in just enough time, and with just enough story lines the Billabong Pro Tahiti was a success. Heck, if this was most places in the world the waves on offer for the event would've been considered excellent. This is Teahupoo though, and the ceiling is limitless when it comes to expectations. This year's contest failed miserably when it came to expectations and hype surrounding the change in scheduling for bigger surf. Teahupoo is such an amazing wave it warrants an extended waiting period if needed to ensure the comp goes off in big surf. This year a few more days of waiting and it would've delivered.

Jordy Smith is having nightmares.
And they all involve Kelly. Jordy can't afford to lose at Lowers and watch Kelly win the event. It's almost certainly between these two surfers for the title now, and we all know Kelly’s history at Pipe. Jordy must have a comfortable lead going into Pipe if he is going to take Kelly’s coveted 10th world title from him.

Trestles on fire?
Long range charts show the swell hitting Tahiti soon should be making it's way up to Lowers for the week of the event. If this holds true we should be in store for a real fine show by the newly-formed top 32. See you there.