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News provided by ASP World Tour on 7 May 2006

Anticipation is building for the start of the third event on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour and the ASP Women’s World Tour – the Billabong Pro Tahiti – as the predicted swell is beginning to arrive.

Having been plagued by small conditions over the past three days of the waiting period, which extends until May 16, surfers are beginning to go slightly stir crazy as the famed wave that is Teahupoo has yet to serve up anything of significance.

Tomorrow, however, that could all change with the predicted swell coming in at the one to 1.5 metre (four to five foot) mark, prompting organisers to call a 6am meeting with the potential for a 7am start to the first heat of either the men of the women.

There are four days of competition required to complete the men and two days needed for the girls.

Looking at the round one draw for the men there are some incredible match-ups, and the resulting level of performance should be at an all time high after a great start to the 2006 season at both Australian events on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach.

Former event winner (in 2002) and three-time world champion Andy Irons is expecting the sparks to fly when the best of the best hit “Chopes” and while he is one of the favourites for the event he is particularly wary of the local wildcards.

Given that there are four in the event and that a few have participated in the event on numerous occasions and caused some major upsets in past, Iron’s concerns are justified.

The list of locals includes, Manoa Drollet, Hira Terinatoofa, Hearii Williams and Steve Pierson to date and Kevin Johnson will also be included given that Toby Martin (AUS) will withdraw due to injury.

“The wildcards this year... well any one of them could win the contest,” said an adamant Irons. “Of all the wildcards at all the events these guys at this place are the most dangerous by far. They are all so rounded and know the wave and the lineup better than anyone on the tour.”

Irons also acknowledged that his heat, which consists of Cory Lopez (USA) and Drollet is potentially the hardest of the draw.

Lopez, a former winner here in 2001, has a reputation for charging the break and has been documented in numerous magazines taking off on some of the meanest waves ever captured on film.

”My first heat is probably the hardest one on the round one draw,” said Irons. “Cory Lopez (USA)… well he’s won out here before and Manoa Drollet (PYF) has made the quarters and the semis a few times before too. It’s going to be a really good heat and I’m just hoping that there’s some good waves and we can get some good barrels.”


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