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World’s Best Surfers Commence Competition at Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley

WSL Jeep Frontrunner Kolohe Andino Maintains Strong 2019 Performance in Opening Round

Top 10’s Jordy Smith and Ryan Callinan Relegated to Elimination Round

 Kolohe Andino (USA), current WSL Jeep Frontrunner, is off to a solid start at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley. Credit: © WSL / Cestari
TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Saturday, August 24, 2019) – The world’s best surfers commenced competition at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley

today with the opening Seeding Round completed in three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at Teahupo’o.

Event No. 7 of 11 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley, occupies one of the most critical points of the season for both the WSL Title Race and 2020 Requalification Battle.

Kolohe Andino (USA), current WSL No. 1, is the first Californian male to hold the frontrunner spot in 23 years – since San Clemente’s Shane Beschen in 1996 – and the young natural-footer is adapting to new pressures associated with being in the lead.

“Having the frontrunner spot is a position I’ve never had prior to this year so there are a lot of new things that go with it,” Andino said. “I feel like I’m adjusting well and I’m just focusing on being present in my heats and surfing the best I can. Get the waves, win the heat, win the comp – that’s how you win the World Title and that’s the plan.”

An eight-year veteran of the elite Championship Tour at the young age of 25, Andino has posted strong results at Teahupo’o in recent seasons with a 5th, a 3rd and a 5th in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“I love coming to Tahiti and feel like I get better at surfing this wave every year,” Andino said. “It was a spot where all the guys I looked up to when I was younger surfed really well so it’s a spot I wanted to commit myself to surfing well when I made the Tour. Looking forward to the rest of the window.”

Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Champion and current WSL No. 8, survived a slow start in his Seeding Round battle against Deivid Silva (BRA) and Frederico Morais (PRT). Sitting in third position at the halfway mark, the iconic Floridian posted two scoring waves in a manner of minutes to rocket to first and avoid relegation to the Elimination Round.

“Getting a couple of advancing scores at Teahupo’o can happen pretty quickly as it’s a small playing field,” Slater said. “The waves were a bit wonky and I had a slow start and was getting pretty frustrated. Everyone had equal opportunity though. I think everyone wants to have heats with big barrels out here and, while it looks like we’ll get that in the coming days, it wasn’t the case today. Stoked to get a win and looking forward to ‘Chopes turning on over the next few days.”

The rounding out of the current Top 10 saw Filipe Toledo (BRA)Italo Ferreira (BRA)Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Julian Wilson (AUS)all advance into Round 3, while Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Ryan Callinan (AUS)have been relegated to the Elimination Round.

“That was a hard heat,” said Ferreira. “It was hard to get in deep but I am glad to get that one. That was one of the best waves of the heat. It is hard to compete when the conditions are like this but I am glad to make it through. I’ve been watching Kauli Vaast the last few days and he is always catching the best ones and getting deep. I was glad to surf with him in that one.”

Owen Wright (AUS), current WSL No. 12, punctuated the afternoon action with lightning-fast surfing on his forehand to post an emphatic Seeding Round 3 and advance directly to the Round of 32.

“It’s great to be back in Tahiti and to have my family with me,” Wright said. “Conditions today weren’t ideal, but looks like we have great waves coming and good to get the opening rounds completed so we can finish in the juice. Boards feel great, body feels great. Looking forward to the rest of the event and hoping for a good result.”

Complementing the intensifying of the 2019 WSL Title race is the crystallization of the battle for requalification for the 2020 Championship Tour.

Soli Bailey (AUS), 2019 WSL Championship Tour rookie and current WSL No. 32, posted an impressive opening round heat win this morning against reigning two-time WSL Champion and defending Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o winner Gabriel Medina (BRA) and fellow rookie Peterson Crisanto (BRA).

“Great to start the event with a win first up,” Bailey said. “Great for the confidence. The learning curve is so huge for your rookie season and I’ve had some strong moments but also trying to soak up a lot. Lots of opportunity left in the season and I’ll hopefully get the ball rolling here in Tahiti and push past the Round of 32.”

The next call for the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley will be tomorrow, Sunday, August 25, at 7:00 a.m. (GMT-10) for a possible 7:35 a.m. start.

The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and on the free WSL app.

Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

WSL Heritage Heat Confirmed for Hobgood Showdown
Early this morning, the WSL confirmed that former Championship Tour standouts C.J. Hobgood (USA), 2001 World Champion, and Damien Hobgood (USA), 2007 Tahiti Pro winner, are en route to Tahiti to compete in a WSL Heritage Heat in the upcoming days. The twin brothers were long-time standouts at Tehaupo’o but never competed against one another at the famed reef pass. The WSL Heritage Heat will be scheduled over the coming days during Championship Tour competition.
Pro Surfers Team Up with Coral Gardners to Restore Nearby Reefs
For the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, WSL collaborated with ‘Glowing Glowing Gone’, a global campaign advocating for greater funding and action for coral reef conservation by highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing corals. The collaboration features a complete takeover of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley event branding to incorporate the exact colors of fluorescing corals, in addition to WSL’s support of Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area.

To learn more about how to get involved with Glowing Glowing Gone and the Coral Gardeners, please visit WSLPURE.org.

Brief Overview

SUN-MON 25th-26th: Head-high to slightly overhead sets and clean – possible run.
TUE-WED 27th-28th: Solid SW swell with double overhead-plus surf – likely to run.
THUR-FRI 29th-30th: Surf eases but still head-overhead surf – conditions likely an issue.
SAT-SUN 31st-1st: More sizable swell moves in, conditions likely remain problematic.

Surfline 

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 1: Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.50, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6.13, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 0.77
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.50, Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.90, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 3.00
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 8.83, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5.50, Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.16, Kauli Vaast (FRA) 7.07, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 1.20
Heat 5: Joan Duru (FRA) 9.37, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.70, Tyler Newton (HAW) 3.54
Heat 6: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.73, Yago Dora (BRA) 11.20, Matahi Drollet (PYF) 5.56
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.63, Deivid Silva (BRA) 8.76, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.00
Heat 8: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.23, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 9.67, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 7.54
Heat 9: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.66, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.60, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.34
Heat 10: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.50, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.77, Michel Bourez (FRA) 6.90
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.33, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.36, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 6.26
Heat 12: Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.70, Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.13, Conner Coffin (USA) 9.67Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Elimination Round (Round 2) Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Matahi Drollet (PYF)
Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Tyler Newton (HAW)
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA)Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o Past Winners:
2018: Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2017: Julian Wilson (AUS)
2016: Kelly Slater (USA)
2015: Jeremy Flores (FRA)
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)

More available at WorldSurfLeague.com.

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