On Tuesday, the Basque Country’s Artiz Aranburu topped a stacked list of 16 Tahitians and 16 international surfers in the Billabong Pro Tahiti Trials to earn the wildcard slot in the main event at Teahupoo, which starts on August 11th.
Aranburu faced Australian veteran Nathan Hedge in the finals and secured the victory by one-tenth of a point in stormy, head-high sets. The former ‘CT surfer brings a history of success to Teahupoo. The End of the Road marked a career highlight for Aranburu in 2009, when he beat Kelly Slater, among others, for a semifinal finish.
It wasn’t classic Teahupoo, but the trials roster was still a who’s-who of Tahiti regulars: Mason Ho, Koa Rothman, Anthony Walsh, Matahi Drollet, Jack Robinson, Seth Moniz, and others all competed in the preliminary event. And, like Aranburu, the wildcards at Teahupoo have a habit of turning heads in the main event. Bruno Santos, winner of the 2008 contest, made another memorable run last year for a fifth-place finish.
Hopefully the iconic reef wave will rev up for the first few days of the waiting period. Below is the updated heat draw for the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Tune in to the World Surf League’s website to watch the live stream of the event, starting on August 11th.
Joel Parkinson vs. Jeremy Flores vs. Jadson Andre
Adriano de Souza vs. Bede Durbidge vs. Nat Young
Owen Wright vs. Italo Ferreira vs. Josh Kerr
Jordy Smith vs. Joan Duru vs. Ethan Ewing
John Florence vs. Zeke Lau vs. Aritz Aranburu
Matt Wilkinson vs. Wiggolly Dantas vs. Taumata Puhetini
Filipe Toledo vs. Adrian Buchan vs. Miguel Pupo
Julian Wilson vs. Conner Coffin vs. Kanoa Igarashi
Gabriel Medina vs. Caio Ibelli vs. Stuart Kennedy
Conner O’Leary vs. Sebastian Zietz vs. Leo Fioravanti
Mick Fanning vs. Kolohe Andino vs. Jack Freestone
Frederico Morais vs. Michel Bourez vs. Ian Gouveia