TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Thursday, August 16, 2018) – The Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, event No. 7 on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), blitzed through a full day of competition today, completing Rounds 3 and 4 and determining the remaining eight Quarterfinalists in variable three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at Teahupo’o.
Filipe Toledo (BRA), current WSL Jeep Rankings Leader, continued his tear through this year’s event with a clutch Round 3 heat win over local wildcard Tikanui Smith (PYF).
“Tika (Smith) is a great guy and dangerous out here at any size,” Toledo said. “I don’t take any heats lightly and every one is a step towards another result. Very happy to continue competing in this beautiful place.
Toledo survived the Round 4 matchup and now faces rookie Michael February (ZAF) in the Quarterfinals when competition resumes.
February, who has failed to advance past Round 3 this season ahead of Tahiti, bested fellow countryman Jordy Smith (ZAF) this morning and found a last-minute barrel in this afternoon’s Round 4 to see himself into the Quarterfinals
“So stoked to finally get through a few heats,” February said. “It’s been a tough year, I feel like I’ve been surfing well but the heats haven’t been breaking my way. Feels great to get the opportunity to show what I can do and hopefully I can keep it rolling here throughout the rest of the event.”
Joining Toledo from the Brazilian Storm were 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and lethal goofy-footer Italo Ferreira (BRA), currently No. 3 and 4 respectively on the WSL rankings.
“I love surfing Teahupo’o, no matter the size,” Medina said. “The forecast this year isn’t great, but we can still go out and perfect. You’re seeing a different kind of surfing and I’m happy to be in the Quarterfinals. It’s an important event for this year’s Title Race and everyone is looking for a result.
2012 WSL Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) was eliminated by Owen Wright (AUS) in Round 3 Heat 4. In a slow heat, Wright’s sealed the win with an excellent 8.00 by threading a technical tube. It was a humbling win for Wright as he moved into Round 3 having eliminated one of the world’s best barrel riders during his retirement year.
“I was stoked when the buzzer sounded, but the second it went off I looked over at Joel (Parkinson) and thought there’s one of the greatest ever, and he won’t be competing here again,” Wright said. “We’re great mates so that was pretty special to share that heat with him. I feel like I’m coming into my prime and just getting everything sorted, but to see Joel stepping out it just makes you want to step in that much more.”
“The conditions were a little bit of a letdown, but I was excited for the event,” said Parkinson. “I definitely wanted to go further. There literally were three waves in that heat. I got one and Owen got the other two, but that is how it goes on those slower days out here. I probably waited the last eleven minutes for nothing. It is over out here for me. It has been an amazing journey, an amazing ride. I am going to miss holding priority in the last ten minutes of a heat, hoping for a score, but I’m glad I don’t have the pressure of it.”
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:00 a.m. TAHT tomorrow morning to assess conditions and make the next call.
The current SW swell slowly eases on Friday, but still provides contestable sets up to chest-shoulder high in the morning and with favorable offshore easterly wind. Another modest but shorter period WSW-SW swell is due to build in Saturday PM and peak by Sunday with similar size surf and conditions. Then yet another small, longer period SW swell lines up for the last day of the event window, Tuesday the 21st, but winds not looking so great (strong SSE). Overall, Friday AM and Sunday are the best options left in event window. Surfline
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o action will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL’s Facebook page. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Tahiti Pro Round 3 Results:
Tahiti Pro Round 4 Results:
Tahiti Pro Quarterfinal Matchups: