EVENT SITE: Billabong Pro Tahiti
EVENT WINDOW: August 14 - 25, 2015
LOCATION: Taiarapu, Tahiti, French Polynesia
TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT -10
COORDINATES: 17Â°50â€²S 149Â°17'W
BAGGAGE CLAIM: Fa'a'a International, Papeete, French Polynesia (PPT)
THE ISLAND: Markets with sarongs, soaps, oils and jewelry abound and the Tahitian pearl, also known as the black pearl, is the pride of the archipelago. Harvested in blue lagoons, the shiny jewel accounts for more than 50 percent of Tahiti's exports and its unique dark hue can range from green to pink, blue to silver, to yellow.
THE BREAK: Similar to Cloudbreak's promise and peril at the Fiji Pro, Teahupo'o pulls over a reef that at points sits just 20 inches below the water. But the unique shape there is what makes the break truly majestic: The semicircular reef drops sharply on the outside, creating the world's only wave that breaks below sea level. The drop in reef height allows the water's rising wall to be as thick as it is steep.
TAHITIAN SURFING HISTORY: Surfing has its deepest roots in the Polynesian islands, where the journey from Tahiti to Hawaii could only be survived by the most accomplished watermen and women. With their superior water skills, they brought their paipo (belly) boards. Bodyboarding is still popular on the perfect lefts at Teahupo'o, known for its heavy waves that can reach heights up to double-overhead and then some.
CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR HISTORY: The 2015 Billabong Pro Tahiti is the 17th edition of the contest an elite event. The competition was run as part of the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) in 1997 and 1998, and converted to an elite Championship Tour event in 1999, as the Gotcha Pro Tahiti. In 2001, Billabong took over sponsorship of the slabfest, and hasn't looked back.
Last year's event alone saw seven 10-point rides and 57 rides in the nine-point range. It also set the stage for the Heat of the Year, a down-to-the-wire, tiebreak situation between Kelly Slater (USA) and John John Florence (HAW).
NOTABLE: If you were wowed by Owen Wright's perfect heats at the Fiji Pro, then this is the event for you. With massive power and a consistent shape, Tahiti has seen its fair share of prefect rides and two of the WSL's eight perfect heats. In 2005, Slater surfed the first perfect heat since the 20-point heat was introduced, for two flawless barrels during the Final. In 2011, Jeremy Flores (FRA) matched Slater's performance perfect 20, but in Round 5.
PAST EVENT CHAMPIONS:
2014: Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2013: Adrian Buchan (AUS)
2012: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2011: Kelly Slater (USA)
2010: Andy Irons (HAW)
2009: Bobby Martinez (USA)
2008: Bruno Santos (BRA)
2007: Damien Hobgood (USA)
2006: Bobby Martinez (USA)
2005: Kelly Slater (USA)
2004: C.J. Hobgood (USA)
2003: Kelly Slater (USA)
2002: Andy Irons (HAW)
2001: Cory Lopez (USA)
2000: Kelly Slater (USA)
1999: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)