Lindy Taverner

Surviving Teahupo'o

2011-08-31 14:20
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

It has been an electrifying week in the surfing world with the monstrous waves, carnage and controversy at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Teahupo’o, French Polynesia.

On Monday, 39 year old American icon Kelly Slater, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, claimed the title over 21 year old Ozzie, Owen Wright. The win marked Slater’s 47th elite tour victory out of 67 Finals appearances! This man is unstoppable and moving fast onto claiming his 11th World Champ title. Is there any athlete in the world that comes close to him?

The Billabong Pro Tahiti experienced what is being called the best surf in the 14 year-history of the event. Pristine two metre waves set the scene for Round 1 before huge and unruly waves provided a stiff test for Round 2.

The French Government issued a Code Red alert for Saturday, keeping all commercial craft in the harbour, which resulted in some of the biggest waves ever seen at Teahupo’o being surfed by specialist tow-in teams who had jetted into the South Pacific Island specifically for the occasion!

The footage truly is remarkable and extremely dangerous! Some of those walls of water hanging over the surfers could easily kill a man.

The rest of the rounds were held in windless conditions, bright sunshine and incredibly hollow two to three metre waves.  Onlookers witnessed perfect surfing from another dimension.

Jeremy Flores became just the third surfer at elite tour level to record an incredible perfect heat of 20 points out of a possible 20! He collected the coveted Andy Irons Award for most committed performance of the event, honouring the late Hawaiin three-time ASP World Champion and last year’s Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion. It was an emotional tribute handed over by his brother, former winner Bruce Irons, who shone in a surfing tribute to Andy before the Final round.

Durban’s Travis Logie recorded his career best result in an ASP World Title Series event when he was placed third in the event. Meanwhile fellow South African Jordy Smith retained his ASP No. 2 ranking despite being eliminated by Logie in a re-run Round 3 heat after Smith suffered a dislocated rib in powerful three metre surf.

We all watched in terror and anticipation when Jordy went down, and horror  when Travis wiped out too, disappearing for a few minutes. He suffered from cuts, bruises and a strained AC shoulder joint.  There was a lot of controversy over ASP uncharacteristically stopping the contest for a while, but they have insisted it was because there was only one rescue boat, not because it was Jordy Smith that was hurt. 

The coveted $1 million Quicksilver Pro New York has been postponed until Monday in light of the impact of Hurricane Irene and concerns for the community who have suffered significant damage from the storm, but they are still excited about the event and support the surfers completely.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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