The Beginning Of The End Of The Road

"There's an E / NE wind prevailing right now, so it looks like it'll stay glassy at Teahupoo all week," says Tahiti photographer Ben Thouard. In the meantime before the Billabong Pro Tahiti kicks off on Friday, a few competitors paddled out into the azure Pacific waters at Small Pass for freesurf action after a nearly month-long break following the J-Bay Open. Whatever pre-Tahiti routine Jeremy Flores found beneficial after winning the event last year, chances are good he'll stick to it, even if it's the technique he uses to wax up his sled.


Flores gives a lesson in form and function with a beautiful forehand wrap.


Tahiti is one of the few spots on Tour you must see from below to fully appreciate what's above.


Flores, honed in, sets his line under a self-sealing glass envelope.


Italo Ferreira, through the sightglass a few mornings ago. His quarterfinal bid in last year's Billabong Pro Tahiti is still fresh on his mind, and with a No.6 ranking on the leaderboard, a high finish at the event could easily bump him into the Top Five.


Rail-grab hand drag from Jeremy Flores, because why wouldn't you slow down to savor the sights above and below your feet?


A welcomed return to the lineup for Tahitian Kevin Bourez, Michel's younger brother, who took a horrific spill over the falls during the 2014 trials and went head-first into the reef, suffering multiple head fractures and deep facial lacerations.


Oh, to surf free and jerseyless in the South Pacific's late afternoon glow. Flores, indulging in one more gouge before dinner.