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Six Reasons 2014 Was The Best Event At Teahupo'o To Date

Teahupo'o has had a Championship Tour event since 1999. In that time, the wave has hosted some of the most iconic moments in professional surfing history.

Yet the Billabong Pro Tahiti was truly special. For a week, triple-overhead waves thundered on the reef and were brushed to perfection by offshore winds.

It was the ultimate coliseum, as surfing greats like Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson fought against the next generation of Gabriel Medinaand John John Florence.

But was it the best Teahupoo event ever? Here's seven reasons why we say yes.

It Was Raining Tens

The data on wave scores backs up the theory that the waves for this event were the best the Tour had ever scene. An incredible number of waves were judged to be in the excellent range, and by the time the Billabong Pro Tahiti was finished, surfers tallied 63 nine-point rides in all. Eleven heat totals were 19.00 or higher and there were seven Perfect 10s, more than the previous six stops combined.

Heroic Hedge Scores Tahiti's First 10
Wildcard Nathan Hedge pulls off the first perfect ride of the Billabong Pro Tahiti in a day full of epic surfing.

Gabriel Medina Comes Of Age

While Gabriel Medina had won two events already in 2014, for some there was still a question mark over his ability at the Tour's heaviest waves.

By the time he'd beaten Kelly in the Final, logged an average heat total of 17.56 and fallen off just one wave the whole event, he'd turned a supposed weakness into a lethal weapon.

It remains one of his most defining performances. He would go onto to claim his first World Title that same year and Medina has since made the Final at Tahiti five times, winning three of them.

Billabong Pro Tahiti 2014 Final
Watch Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina do battle in the historic and uncut Billabong Pro Tahiti 2014 Final.

The GOAT at his Goatiest

Kelly Slater didn't win the event, losing by just 0.03 of a point in the Final. However there's an argument that this may have been the last time he truly dominated an event, even if he did claim his last CT victory here two years later.

In Round 3 he logged five consecutive nine-pointers in one heat and would finish the event with 14 nines.

Add two Perfect 10s and he finished with an unprecedented average heat score of 18.97, which remains the highest to this day. It was a masterful performance with the GOAT surfing to the top of his limits in the some of the best waves ever seen for a competition.

Kelly Slater's Perfect 10 in the Tahiti Semifinals
The Champ goes big right off the bat at Teahupo'o.

John John Emerges

John John Florence joined the CT at the same time as Gabriel Medina, but by 2014 the Hawaiian had only claimed a single CT victory. In Tahiti he clicked into gear and it took something truly special from Kelly Slater to stop him. However he left Tahiti having scored 10 nine-pointers overall, a Perfect 10, and with new confidence. He made the Final in the next event at Trestles, then won in France and finished as the World No. 3 His performance in Tahiti was a significant step in his ascent to the top of the sport.

Florence's Perfect Barrel at Incredible Teahupo'o
The Hawaiian notches a 10-point ride in a classic Tahitian tube.

The Tension Never Let Up

Just as the waves never dipped below eight feet, the tension never dropped below gripping. Three heats weren't buzzer beaters, they were tie breakers. Slater and Florence both scored an incredible 19.77 in their Semi, with Slater progressing on a count back. Additionally, 11 heats had a final point spread of less than 1.00, and it was fitting that in the Final the surfers were separated by just 0.03 points.

Monster Moment: Florence vs. Slater Semifinal
Two heavyweight chargers collided in the Semis when Slater and Florence went nine-for-nine in a heat like no other.

Everyone Put It On The Line

There's no hiding when Teahupo'o is 10 feet and there is just two surfers in the water. Almost all the surfers stepped up in the terrifying conditions, which resulted in some horrendous wipeouts. Aussies Bede Durbidge, Dion Atkinson and Owen Wright all endured horrific beat downs, only to head straight back to the lineup to ride some incredible waves. There was amazing athleticism and talent on show all week, but this event also took a huge amount of bravery just to compete. That's what made it so special.

Teahupo'o Wipeouts in Behemoth Bombs
ASP Desk takes a look back at some of the big falls from opening day at Teahupo'o.
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