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LAY DAY CALLED FOR BILLABONG PRO TAHITI
News provided by ASP World Tour on 4 May 2006
Organisers of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the third event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour and ASP Women's World Tour, have opted to take a rest day as swell conditions at the famed break of Teahupoo are way below their incredibly perfect best.
Contest Directors Luke Egan and Chris Callaghan had no choice but to call the lay day as the swell is a smallish one metre (three feet) at present, but it is expected to rise over the weekend.
Forecasts suggest that swell could rise to around the two metre (six feet) plus mark by Sunday and if so we’ll see the incredible natural phenomenon that is Teahupoo fire off its renowned ferocious barrels.
While most competitors are eager to get amongst it, there is one particular surfer hoping that the event kicks off later rather than sooner.
Kealla Kennelly (HAW), who has a history of charging only the largest and steepest waves at “Chopes” is at present laid up with a suspected broken back.
Having incurred the injury after the previous women’s event in Fiji, when she was slammed onto the reef while freesurfing, Kennelly is undergoing numerous cat scans in the Tahitian capital of Papeete, to investigate the extent of the injuries.
Kennelly will be devastated if she is forced to miss the event as she is known worldwide as the “Queen of Teahupoo” having won at this location three times in extremely dangerous conditions.
“I know that she loves this event and I know that she would be really disappointed,” said good friend and world number eight Clare Bevilacqua (AUS). “I’m sure though that if it is small she won’t be as worried but she still loves surfing this place with a passion.”
It is likely that when the swell arrives the ladies will be the first to hit the water.
In round one of the men’s event there have been numerous withdrawals due to injury.
Toby Martin (AUS) will again withdraw due to a shoulder injury he sustained after his arm was caught in the rocks at his home break of Dee Why Point in Sydney, Australia.
Raoni Monteiro (BRA) is another casualty pulling out due to a lingering knee problem that also forced him to withdraw from the last men’s event at Bells Beach Australia.
And Adrian Buchan (AUS) has yet to partake in the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour due to an ankle complaint.
The first round draw of the men’s is now littered with a host of wildcards from the trials including four local Tahitians Hira Terinatoofa, Heiarri Williams, Manoa Drollet and Steve Pierson.
The four are masters of the tricky Teahupoo break and will cause a stir in their first round heats where they will meet Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Andy Irons (HAW) and Taj Burrow (AUS) in heats six, eight, nine and 10.
“Hira is always a performer here at Chopes,” said 2005 world number six Trent Munro (AUS). "He always has the potential to take some of the big boys out. Manoa though, he’s the big damage guy. If it gets big he’s trouble.”
Heiarri Williams has also been noted as perhaps one of the best ever prospects to come out of Tahiti and his unique side-slipping entry into the incredibly vertical takeoff at Teahupoo will be well appreciated by the judges.
Also gaining entry into the main event is charger Danny Fuller (HAW).
A confident tube rider who regularly impresses at Pipeline Hawaii, Fuller has been matched up against Mick Fanning (AUS) and Brazilian wonder kid Adriano De Souza.
For the full draw for both the men and women head to www.billabongpro.com or www.aspworldtour.com