Billabong Pro Tahiti: Day 2 Highs And Lows

CJ Hobgood lit up the three-to-four foot surf on offer today at Teahupo‘o. Photo: ASP/Robertson

CJ Hobgood clearly enjoyed the three-to-four foot surf on offer today at the Billabong Pro Tahiti... the 5th stop of the 2010 ASP World Tour Photo: ASP/Robertson

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Day 2 Highs And Lows

For some, day 2 of the 2010 Billabong Pro Tahiti was the worst day of their pro surfing career. Lacking good results this year and subsequently booted from the World Tour were 2009 Rookie Of The Year Kekoa Bacalso, passionate Brazilian Neco Padaratz, a red headed ninja, and Kieren Perrow among others. Mick Fanning tweeted, “Mixed emotions going on today, friends winning and friends losing and falling off tour. I don’t whether to laugh or cry!” A bit dramatic, but it was an emotional day for the tight knit group of World Tour surfers.

The surf today was similar to day 1, maybe a hair smaller, but still clean and dreamy for everyday type of surfers—you and I could have got barreled off our tits out at Havae Passe today. It improved later in the afternoon when the wind shifted offshore and guys like Fred Patacchia, and Jeremy Flores, Kelly Slater, and Ace Buchan took full advantage of the draining barrels while others suffered through Teahupoo‘o’s notorious lulls.

Let’s cut to the chase… who got the axed at Chopes today?
Tanner Gudauskas, Drew Courtney, Mick “Ginja Ninja” Campbell, Tommy Whitaker, Kekoa Bacalso, Blake Thornton, Kieren Perrow, Luke Munro, Dean Morrison, Jay “Bottle” Thompson, Nate Yeomans, and Ben Dunn. It’s not the end of the world for the guys, a few good results in 6* events and they can get right back into the thick of the World Title Race.

Fred Patacchia. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Fred Patacchia. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Highs

CJ Hobgood: CJ made right after an uncharacteristic first round loss and took out World Tour veteran Neco Padaratz who committed a blatant interference. Padaratz became the first victim of the much-heralded “chop” down from 45 surfers to 32. Regardless, Neco is a great guy and beloved by all the guys on tour; we wish you the best Neco!

South Swell: With a little shift in the swell to a more southerly direction, the waves at Teahupo‘o started breaking further up the point allowing for a bit longer rides, and a few opportunities for the guys to backdoor the West Bowl. Minus the last heat of the day, it turned into a tube fest later in the afternoon thanks to an offshore wind.

Web cast: No hiccups today, the live Web cast ran smooth as silk to the delight of the thousands watching from less idyllic places—like a cubicle.

Andy Irons: Showing hints of the form that saw him win three world titles, you can’t keep Andy out of the conversation when an event is held in left hand barrels—especially here in Tahiti.

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Just another day in paradise... Photo: ASP/Robertson

Dane Reynolds: With Raimana Van Bastolaer barking out where to sit from atop his boat, Dane Reynolds had the best heat of the event at that point while surfing against Blake Thornton. Dane’s been to Chopes plenty of times and has more experience out there than a lot of the guys on tour. Deep tube rides followed by vicious hacks marked Dane’s impressive performance in round two.

Jeremy Flores: The Reunion Islander has spent as much time on Tahiti as anyone on the WCT (sans Bourez) and was able to get over his cyber-battle with Sterling “Centaur” Spencer and focus on what he’s good at—ripping in French territories.

Fred Patacchia: Freddy P went ballistic in his matchup against Travis Logie and nailed the highest heat score of the event so far but don’t take my word for it, watch his heat below…

Manoa Drollet: After losing a paddle battle to Jordy Smith, the young South African and current world #1 inexplicably gave away priority after taking off on a wave where h did a few big turns, but no high scoring barrel. Manoa Yep, he’s on my FASL team!) seized control of the heat and got barrel after barrel while Jordy sat without priority. With Jordy’s loss and Kelly Slater advancing over wild card surfer Heiarii Williams, the race for the World Championship took a turn in Slater’s favor…

An emotional Neco Padaratz after being knocked off the ASP World Tour as a part of the "trim down" from 45 to 32 surfers. Photo: ASP/Robertson

An emotional Neco Padaratz after being knocked off the ASP World Tour as a part of the trim down from 45 to 32 surfers. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Lows

Tanner Gudauskas: Knocked out of the event by Andy Irons, San Clemente’s Tanner Gudauskas became another victim of the ASP World Tour trim down process. Andy was conciliatory toward Tanner in his post heat speech, but odds are Tanner will be back in the big leagues one of these days. “It was a tough heat out there. It’s been fun to put it out there on the line, though,” he said referring to his axing from the World Tour. Ever the frother, he will be back.

Mick Campbell: The “Ginga Ninja” was booted off the World Tour after the judges gave Adam Melling a whopping 8.27 when he needed an 8.23 to pass Campbell. WTF? Are the judges rewarding barrels or tricks? They need to pick one and stick with it…

Kekoa Bacalso: After winning Rookie Of The Year in 2009, the powerful surfer from Mililani, Oahu failed to re-qualify for the rest of the year after losing out to fellow Rip Curl stable mate Matt Wilkinson. Kekoa’s slow start to the year at waves that benefitted his surfing proved to be his undoing.

Language Butchers: I’ve yet to hear a contest announcer pronounce Teahupo‘o correctly… Is it an Aussie thing (that a few seppos have picked up) to call it “Cho-poo” and not as the Tahitians say “Cho-po?”

One of the many veterans to go down today and miss the cut from 45 to 32 was Tommy Whitaker. Photo: ASP/Robertson

One of the many veterans to go down today and miss the cut from 45 to 32 was Tommy Whitaker. Photo: ASP/Robertson

Today saw 12 of the 13 surfers who didn’t make the cut today…
- Drew Courtney (AUS), 31
- Neco Padaratz (BRA), 34
- Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 22
- Mick Campbell (AUS), 34
- Kieren Perrow (AUS), 33
- Tom Whitaker (AUS), 30
- Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 25
- Blake Thornton (AUS), 25
- Dean Morrison (AUS), 29
- Jay Thompson (AUS), 28
Who do you think will be the first guy to make it back into a World Tour event? Who won’t ever make it back?