I surfed these trials a couple times many moons ago. The first time I made it through one heat (I literally prayed for small surf the night before) before getting smoked by Glen Hall, then nearly died the next year after getting caught inside on a big set and having my leash wrapped around a coral head. Good times!
TransWorld SURF and Dean Bowen are fired up for the trials, are you! Photo: Surfing Australia
Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials
ASP Trials event for Billabong Pro Tahiti
2nd – 6th May, 2009.
Guns Out for Billabong Pro Tahiti Wildcard
Sixty-four ‘Teahupoo’ chargers will put it all on the line at the world’s heaviest wave to secure a prestigious wildcard into the Billabong Pro Tahiti, ASP men’s world tour surfing event. The winner of the Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials will be awarded the lone remaining wildcard into the main event.
The world-class line-up features 32 internationals and 32 talented Tahitians, including top seed Manoa Drollet (Tah) The trials are renowned for being as tough as the main event with the worlds most respected and revered big wave surfers included in the field.
The all-wildcard final of the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti proved just how dangerous the Teahupoo specialists can be. Brazil’s Bruno Santos pulled off the impossible, securing a main event wildcard via the Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials to go on and win the world tour event from fellow wildcard Drollet.
Two-time trials winner Drollet has stunned the surfing world with his fearless feats at Teahupoo over the years and once again is regarded as the man to beat.
U/18’s ISA world and Australian champion Dean Bowen (Gerroa, Aus) has been preparing for the upcoming trials by putting in some serious surfing time alongside Drollet for the past two weeks at Teahupoo.
“Manoa is the best surfer in the world out there,” said Bowen from Tahiti today.
“He is always in the line-up. I’ve talked to him a lot about the break, he tells you where to sit to stay out of trouble and which waves to catch.
“Some of the guys in the trials are as good as the surfers in the main event.
“When it’s big Manoa, Bruce Irons and Jamie O’Brien are unbelievable,” added Bowen.
Defending Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials champion Jamie O’Brien (Haw) is sure to be amongst the top challengers again. The 2006 Pipeline Master is renowned for his big wave barrel-riding skills and used a perfect ten point ride to win the 2008 trials from Santos.
Three wildcards are awarded into the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui, two by the event sponsor and one by ASP. Three-time world and three-time Teahupoo champion Andy Irons (Haw) has been awarded a main event Billabong wildcard. The 30 year-old has taken a years hiatus from full-time world touring but will be back at his powerful best to compete at Teahupoo.
The ASP wildcard has been awarded to defending champion Bruno Santos (Brz). The ASP rule book states ‘A defending event champion will be awarded the right to defend his title regardless of whether he is a world tour top 45 member’. The remaining Billabong wildcard will go to the winner of the Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper Trials.
Competition will be fierce with recently retired ASP world tour competitor Bruce Irons (Haw), Pipeline Master Jamie O’Brien (Haw), former world tour surfer Vetea David (Tah), big wave legend Dylan Longbottom (Aus), former Teahupoo champion Koby Abberton (Aus), local talent Heiarii Williams (Tah), rising Tahitian star Tamaroa McComb, Kalani Chapman (Haw), Taumata Puhetini (Tah), Julian Wilson (Aus), Alain Riou (Tah), Ricardo De Santos (Brz), Germain Tuataa (Tah), Laurie Towner (Aus), Wade Goodall (Aus) and Niuhi Marere (Tah) all in the hunt.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui will be staged at Teahupoo from May 9th to 20th. The tournament is proudly supported by Air Tahiti Nui, Sony, Honda Aquatrax, VonZipper, Kustom, Nixon and domestic sponsors Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Mana, Opt and Manava Resorts.
Billabong and the ASP will be coordinating daily video news feeds, press releases and images from the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui. In order to best serve your media requests please direct your enquiry to the following;
Excel spreadsheet attached of the 64 trialists listed either international or Tahitian along with reserves.
Attached Complimentary Image: Dean Bowen (AUS) reacquainting himself with the perfect barrels at Teahupoo this week in readiness for the Von Zipper Air Tahiti Nui Trials.