Billabong Pro Tahiti

Day 1 Recap: Big Scores, Big Consequences

Highlights from Historic Day at Teahupo'o
A massive swell greets contestants on the first day of competition at the 2014 ASP Billabong Pro, Tahiti.

Date: Monday, August 18, 2014
Schedule: Men's Round 1 (Heats 1-12) and Round 2 (Heats 1 and 2)
Conditions: 10-to-15-foot faces at Teahupo'o

Round 2

Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 2 Heat 2
Adriano De Souza and Nathan Hedge vie for a spot in Round 3 at the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

ASP World Title threat Adriano De Souza and dangerous wildcard Nathan Hedge clashed next in the crucial Round 2 repechage round, with De Souza getting the best of the opening exchange, scoring a 6.67.

Hedge found a few small scores to start, but eventually survived a weightless drop followed by a deep, heavy barrel. The eccentric Australian's astonishing ride secured the first Perfect 10 of the competition.

Nathan Hedge's Perfect 10, Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2
Wildcard Nathan Hedge pulls off the first perfect ride of the Billabong Pro Tahiti in a day full of epic surfing.

De Souza was in need of a 5.34, but his backup fell shy with a 5.10. Hedge's backup was a minimal 2.00, but the perfect ride secured him a spot in Round 3.

Results: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.00 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.77

Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Taumata Puhetini (PYF)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 2 Heat 1
Local wildcard Taumata Puhetini faces off against Aussie Joel Parkinson during the ASP event's first day of competition.

With nine-point opportunities still on offer at Teahupo'o, competition continued with the first elimination round.

Taumata Puhetini was quick to get things underway. The local Trial winner scored on back-to-back tubes, the better ride earning him a 7.83. Joel Parkinson allowed the first couple sets to pass him by, waiting for better opportunities to roll through. They came with 10 minutes off the clock and Parko used his precision surfing to find the perfect line through the barrel for a 7.40 and an excellent 9.00 to take the lead.

Puhetini suffered another massive wipeout at the 18 minute mark, this one leaving him unable to continue. ASP will provide updates from medical as they become available.

Results: Joel Parkinson 17.17, Taumata Puhetini 12.50

Round 1

Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. John John Florence (HAW) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 12
An international affair unfolds as Smith, Florence and Otton (AUS) battle on opening day.

Aussie goofy-footer Kai Otton traded small opening rides with Jordy Smith and John John Florence to start off the final battle of Round 1.

On the following set Otton went down under the lip and took a ski back with water patrol. While he rode back, Smith took off on a classic Tahiti tube, stalling under cover to max out time in the barrel. The ride sent him to the front of the pack until Florence rode a second wave for a combined 13.53.

John John Florence Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
Kai Otton earns a 9.57 in Round 1 Heat 12 of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

With just over 16 minutes left, Florence took one of the steepest drops of the event so far, grabbing his rail and dragging his left hand on the face to stabilize. The ride earned him an 8.83, the highest score of the heat. Otton answered back with a nearly vertical drop of his own, standing through the barrel to score a 9.57, though was was still short of the lead.

Hawaiian Charger Makes Vertical Drop
John John Florence makes a steep takeoff for an 8.83 in the opening round of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Smith got caught on the inside, and took a few waves on the head before Tahitian Water Patrol could get to him in the heavy white water. Florence was the next to go down, caught deep in a tube that closed in on him. Otton caught a second high-scoring tube and traded places again for the top spot, leaving Smith needing two good scores to catch up.

"The two days we had practice was all John [John Florence] talk. I think the whole world was talking about him so I was pretty nervous coming up against him," admitted Otton.

Results: Kai Otton 18.24, John John Florence 15.83, Jordy Smith, 8.73

Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 11
Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)

Owen Wright, Bede Durbidge and Travis Logie went to battle next at the Tahitian spectacle. While Heat 10 was packed with excellent rides, the trio in Heat 11 failed to find clean exits despite a series of valiant attempts in the first half of the affair.

With just five minutes remaining, Durbidge held a lead with a mere 5.40 for his heat total. Wright earned a small 2.67 in the dying seconds, proving enough to place the Australian goofy-footer in the lead for a scrappy heat win.

"I think it was a pretty big set, it's hard to tell because there was so much water behind it," said Wright of his wipeout during the heat. "I just went for it. As soon as I got to my feet, I looked up and it was a straight close-out... I enjoyed the pounding afterwards."

Results: Owen Wright (AUS) 6.34, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5.43, Travis Logie (ZAF) 3.10

Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti, Round 1 Heat 10
Jadson Andre takes on the Aussies in the first day of competition at Teahupo'o.

Jadson Andre dropped into a bomb and stood tall for a 6.17 to open Heat 10. Julian Wilson took off on the next wave of the set, riding low to stay behind the curtain and better the exchange with a 7.17. The Brazilian caught a backup wave to take the lead while Josh Kerr sat patiently out the back, scoreless through the first 15 minutes.

Kerr took off at the 18-minute mark, stalling at the bottom of the break so he could stand in the tube too, arms raised through the spit for a 7.93. But Wilson and Andre were on his tail, bettering their score lines with an 8.77 and 7.47, respectively. With the second-highest score in the heat, Kerr found himself unable to find a backup wave in the final five minutes.

The lone Brazilian was't settling for second: In the dying minutes of the heat, Andre disappeared behind the thick wall of water, exiting with the foamball for an excellent 9.17 to take the lead.

"I was watching every heat and I didn't know if it would be a high-scoring heat or a medium one," Andre said. "I just tried to get waves and saw Kerrzy and Julian getting bombs. I've been training here a lot and I was just lucky to get a wave. I am stoked to get that first heat win, but I really need a big result here and prove I can hang with the top guys."

Results: Jadson Andre 16.64, Julian Wilson 15.94, Josh Kerr 7.93

Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 9
Kolohe Andino (USA), Fred Patacchia (HAW) and Aritz Aranburu (ESP) compete in Teahupo'o.

Freddy Patacchia Jr. took the first wave for a 5.17, followed by Kolohe Andino. Aritz Aranburu was next to get some cover with skills honed at Mundaka, a hollow wave on Spain's northern coast.

At the halfway mark, the young Californian led the pack, followed by Patacchia, with Aranburu in third. But Aranburu moved ahead with a solid, backhand tube ride for a combined 8.87 and a new spot at the front of the pack.

With fewer than eight minutes left, Andino took on a deep tube, displaying fantastic form to earn a 7.43 and again moved into the lead. Patacchia took the next wave, followed by Aranburu, who couldn't find his way out of the tube and snapped his board.

"I think everyone's intimidated, even if they don't admit it," said Andino. "We saw Kevin Bourez get messed up the other day and it was half this size. With that said, I still would have been pissed if I lost this heat. It's important to avoid that Round 2. I'm stoked that I dodged that and survived."

Results: Kolohe Andino 13.76, Aritz Aranburu 11.44, Freddy Patacchia Jr. 10.74

Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 8
Nat Young (USA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT)

2013 Rookie of the Year Nat Young, past champion C.J. Hobgood and Portuguese Tiger Tiago Pires took on the pulsing Tahitian barrels next, with Young asserting an early lead. The Californian strengthened his lead, navigating a huge bomb under Hobgood's priority. Young was rewarded with a 9.67.

Nat Young 9.67 Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
Nat Young took the lead and the win in his Round 1 heat at the Billabong Pro Tahiti with this nine-point ride.

In an attempt to battle back, Hobgood looked at an absolute monster but pulled back. The Flordian was sucked over the falls from the raw, ocean energy but emerged relatively unscathed. He delivered a heroic comeback attempt, earning an 8.27 immediately following his heavy wipeout, but the youngest of the trio held on for the win.

"It's a really difficult wave," Young said after the heat. "It's a lot of timing and positioning. Whether you're goofy or natural, you have a better chance of winning if your takeoff is smart."

Results: Nat Young (USA) 16.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.27, Tiago Pires (PRT) 8.26

Heat 7: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 7
Pupo, De Souza and Atkinson do battle in heavy Teahpo'o waves.

Miguel Pupo set the tone for the seventh heat, riding three waves in the first 10 minutes. While his scores came in as a pair of mid-range threes and a 4.77 -- to Adriano De Souza's opening 5.67 and Dion Atkinson's 4.83 -- his two-wave total kept him on top through the first 15 minutes.

The rookie fought back, finding a deeper pit and a smooth exit to overtake the lead with a 7.00. De Souza found his second score but it came in at a mid-range four-pointer and he stayed in second position with 15 minutes left.

Miguel Pupo Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
Miguel Pupo shows amazing control as he slips and regains composure in one swift motion during this drop in his Round 1 heat.

After 10 minutes of inactivity, Pupo was up again, standing tall in a draining barrel for a 6.17. Behind him, a raging Atkinson was in another tube. In an incredible showing of athleticism and control, the goofy-footer was able to replace his back foot which had slipped off, finishing cleanly for an excellent 8.33 and a comfortable lead with five minutes remaining. De Souza challenged the lead with a rail-grab in the tube for a 7.43 but was unable to improve his bottom score.

"It's been a long week waiting for this swell," Atkinson said. "It's pretty perfect and those are the best waves I've had out there by a mile. It's good fun on your backhand and I'm stoked I got some scores."

Results: Dion Atkinson 15.33, Adriano De Souza 13.27, Miguel Pupo 13.10

Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS) vs. Taumata Puhetini (PYF)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 6
Gabriel Medina (BRA), Mitch Crews (AUS) and local wildcard Taumata Puhetini (PYF) compete in perfect Teahupo'o for Round 1, Heat 6.

It was a quiet start to Heat 6, with World No. 1 Gabriel Medina sitting alongside Tour rookie Mitch Crews and local wildcard winner Taumata Puhetini.

After the restart, Medina pulled into the first tube for a 4.33, the first score of the heat. Close to the 25-minute mark, Crews pulled into a barrel, grabbing the rail for a crowd-pleaser. Puhetini took off next for what the ASP hosts called a "soulful" ride, standing in the tube on his local turf.

By the 21-minute mark, Medina led with 8.60 ahead of Crews's 5.50 and Puhetini's 5.50. The wildcard, however, began to show his local knowledge with a handful of smooth rides and, over the next 10 minutes, built his score to a combined 9.47.

At the 10-minute mark, Medina held his arms up in the West bowl of the break, making it all look easy and launching into the air on the way out. He and Puhetini were neck-and-neck for the remainder of the heat, with the wildcard taking a huge fall mid-face, but recovering with another textbook ride.

Crews, meanwhile, had a few solid tubes of his own to narrow the gap and showthat he had the chops to handle heavy Teahupo'o. When the buzzer went off, though, Medina still had the lead, solidifying his own standing as the current WCT leader.

Results: Gabriel Medina 14.33, Taumata Puhetini 12.17, Mitch Crews 9.43

Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 5
Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS) and Nathan Hedge (AUS) compete in Round 1 Heat 5 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

2012 ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson, defending event champion Adrian Buchan and veteran charger Nathan Hedge put life and limb on the line next in the building swell at Teahupo'o.

Hedge drove through a Tahitian cavern, logging an excellent 9.27 to establish the heat lead. Epic conditions continued to prevail with Buchan and Parkinson driving through heavy barrels of their own. Parko was near-perfect, dropping a 9.80 for the lead while Buchan's seemingly impossible forehand tube for a 9.97 propelled the Australian goofy-footer into the lead in the final seconds for the win.

Ace Buchan 9.97 Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
The defending event champion scores a near-perfect nine to open his Billabong Pro Tahiti campaign.

Of his big score Buchan said, "It felt wrong taking off, I got a good pump in, for some reason I just hung on. It lifted me backwards and forwards, and I got a big projection off the foam ball. I was just shocked when I came out."

Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Mitch Coleborn (AUS)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti, Round 1 Heat 4
Mick Fanning (AUS) vs Mitch Coleborn (AUS) vs Alejo Muniz (BRA) in Round 1 at the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

After a few calmer heats, Mick Fanning picked up the pace with the rising swell, pulling into a draining a tube for an excellent 8.83 on his first wave. A follow-up ride for a 6.00 gave him an early and dominant lead over Alejo Muniz and Mitch Coleborn, each with negligible scores to start.

An exchange at the midway point of the heat saw Muniz and Coleborn catch their first keepers but Fanning got into a deep pit for a 9.03 and put both his opponents in combination situations.

Mick Fanning 9.03 Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
The reigning World Champ notches a nine-point ride in his opening campaign.

The next set belonged to the sea, with huge wipeouts leaving the surfers battling the turbulence in front of the reef. The Aussies exchanged solid rides in the final five minutes, but Fanning tucked into a pristine barrel and stood up for a second nine-point ride. With that, he tallied a near-perfect heat total of 18.16. Left needing two new scores apiece, Coleborn and Muniz are relegated to compete in the first elimination round.

"This morning I saw some really big, thick, west ones and I got tumbled," Fanning said. "It's straightened up a bit and conditions are just flawless. You can't ask for anything better. It's so clean and perfect."

Results: Mick Fanning 18.16, Mitch Coleborn 8,47, Alejo Muniz 8.10

Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti, Round 1 Heat 3
Taj Burrow (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA) and Adam Melling (AUS) compete in Round 1 Heat 3 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Taj Burrow kicked off the heat but didn't make his wave. Brett Simpson and Adam Melling quickly followed suit, each making clean entries and exits in glassy conditions.

Action heated up at the 21-minute mark, when Burrow made the deepest tube of the face-off so far. His critical takeoff and smooth exit earned him a 6.83, giving him the lead in the low-scoring heat. Soon after, Melling took a wave on the head, breaking his board and putting him on pause.

Burrow made the next big barrel, finding just enough space in a powerful tube to find his way out through the spray to cheers in the channel. The ride scored him a 5.67, solidifying his lead with a combined 12.50 over Simpson's 4.57 and Melling's 4.37.

With fewer than 10 minutes on the clock, Burrow and Simpson dropped in to back-to-back waves, each handling the building swell with seeming ease and confidence. The Californian's ride bumped his scores closer to Burrow's for a combined 9.17, but it wasn't enough to top the Aussie veteran. Melling got back in the game with five minutes left getting a quick cover-up, but his combined 5.07 wasn't enough to move the needle.

"Today is so beautiful and I wanted it so bad," Burrow said. "It feels nice to spread out and take your time and figure out where you want to be."

Results: Taj Burrow, 12.50 vs. Brett Simpson, 9.17 vs. Adam Melling 5.07

Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 2
Local Michel Bourez takes on Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Raoni Monteiro (BRA) on opening day of the Billabong Pro

Local hero Michel Bourez, Australian goofy-footer Matt Wilkinson and Brazilian Raoni Monteiro each exchanged a few small barrels to start, with Monteiro taking an early lead. Following two heavy wipeouts, the Tahitian took pole position, compliments of a solid backhand tube for a 6.83.

Wilko posted his first score of consequence next with a 6.00 for a clean forehand barrel, but Bourez's heat-high 6.83 proved enough for the win.

"I was really stressed out there because it's kind of big and I didn't surf during the free surf," Bourez said afterward. "I didn't realize how big it was going to be."

Results: Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.66, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.63, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 7.17

Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)

2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti: Round 1 Heat 1
Kelly Slater (USA) vs Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs Glenn Hall (IRL) kick off the first heat of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti.

The opening set of the Billabong Pro Tahiti was classic Teahupo'o. All three surfers caught quick tube rides, Kelly Slater and Sebastian Zietz using rail grabs to dig deep and Glenn Hall standing tall. Winning the opening exchange with a 7.00, the 11-time World Champion went on a raid, dropping into a monster, maximizing the barrel, and gliding all the way into the channel for the first nine-point ride of the event.

Kelly Slater 9.40 Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1
Taking on a dredging reef break, Kelly Slater earns the first 9-point ride of 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti competition.

Zietz and Hall each needed two fresh scores in the second half of Heat 1. The Hawaiian took the first shot but was swallowed up as the wave crashed around him.

Scores held through the five-minute mark when Hall took his chances on a big set wave, but Chopes claimed another wipeout. Slater earned the direct advance into Round 3 with both his opponents combo-ed as time ran out.

"Right when we pulled up I saw a couple of bombs," said Slater. "I was excited to get in the heat and get going. It was nice to get out there and get a little lineup. I'm so excited that I'm shaking. I've got to calm down. It's going to be a good week."

Result: Kelly Slater, 16.40, Sebastian Zietz 10.34, Glenn Hall 4.53