The ASP World Tour heads to Teahupo’o
It’s been three years since the last truly great event at Teahupo’o. 2011 featured everything from the now infamous ‘Code Red’ swell event complete with the world’s best big wave surfers, to the first of three back-to-back world tour finals between Kelly Slater and Owen Wright, with the King taking out Avatar in some of the best conditions seen for competition that year.
While this year won’t be another Code Red, there’s potential for three days in the waiting period to be nudging 10 foot with plenty of pulses and still intimidating size in between. Most of the pros have a full quiver of shortboards around 5’10” (Kelly) to 6’3” (Owen) with step ups all the way to 7’. With most boards being made specifically for this event, there is a bit more volume under the chest for faster paddling and an assortment of thrusters and quads in rounded pin tails. While Kelly has been a proponent of the quad for much longer than almost anyone else on tour, Mick and Joel have found success at places like Teahupo’o, Fiji and Pipeline in recent years with the speed and hold provided by quad set ups. Surfers like John Florence and Owen Wright have a different train of thought however; both preferring thrusters to wipe off speed with ease. For Owen this may be because he doesn’t have the stalling advantages of those going backside at Teahupo’o, while John is in his own realm of backside tube-riding and operates in another dimension to almost everyone else, so it may be best to take his equipment choices with a grain of salt.
What We’re In For
Despite coming off the best waves of the year at Jbay, the forecast means the Billabong Pro Tahiti could quickly replace the South African leg as the best event of 2014. Whether it ends with Kelly getting back into pole position for his 12th crown, Mick or Parko increasing the chances of a 3rd straight Coolangatta World Title or one of the young guys stepping up like Owen did in 2011, we’re in for one hell of a show.
Back at home, Queensland and Northern NSW are in for a short round of unseasonal NE windswell. It won’t feel too much like summer though, with fresh westerlies and cool water temps combined with a swell that will hopefully have some substance due to a slightly longer period than November/December wind slop. Once it cleans up a bit there should be some fun beach breaks everywhere from Noosa to south of the border, so find your own bank and tuck in!