Stab Magazine | Stab's picks for the 2015 Billabong Pro, Tahiti
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Stab’s picks for the 2015 Billabong Pro, Tahiti

Words by Damien Fahrenfort | (most) Photos by Domenic Mosqueira Mick Fanning gets attacked by a shark in the final on live TV. I had thought I’d seen it all, but turns out since then that I was just getting started. Some grease monkey proceeded to ride his dirt bike at Chopes and Jamie O […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Words by Damien Fahrenfort | (most) Photos by Domenic Mosqueira

Mick Fanning gets attacked by a shark in the final on live TV. I had thought I’d seen it all, but turns out since then that I was just getting started. Some grease monkey proceeded to ride his dirt bike at Chopes and Jamie O lit himself on fire and rode a bomb. Keala Kennelly rides one of the biggest waves ever in the same swell and and some Kiwi tries to commit suicide multiple times by falling in the lip but comes up without a real scratch.

Fact of the matter is the Billabong Tahiti event will be a slight let down this year in comparison to the past few weeks. Not because of the ability of the athletes and average size surf forecasted, but because how do we settle back into 30 minute heats at four to six foot Chopes when we’ve been exposed to all this? Regardless, I’m excited and after the best Tahiti event ever last year, we’re bound to see some exciting surfing again. And, we have a world title juggle on our hands. Adriano De Souza still dons the cherished Jeep leader jersey by default and this will be Filipe’s first time in Tahiti in two years. Owen’s already been to Chopes twice this year. Once before Fiji and after solid Chopes he made Cloudbreak look like a walk in the park. Most will be picking him for the win, but I’m thinking otherwise…

Photo: Ryan Miller/Redbull.com/Surfing

It sure will be good to see John back in the jersey. Photo: Ryan Miller/Redbull.com/Surfing

John John Florence
Rumour has it that John sailed to Tahiti from Hawaii on a yacht, and I’m a sucker for great stories so I’m backing John for the win here. He has a lot on his plate at the moment with his movie and he tends to do well under pressure. His brother Nate just rode the best wave ever at Chopes and John ain’t one to be outdone. He also hasn’t won an event in a while and he’s due for a win or a monster result. That ankle brace he’s sporting might even help him slow down a bit in the tube and as a coach for Chopes he’s got Bruce Irons hanging with him.

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Gabs won this event on wave selection. A commodity no one should ever underestimate.

Gabs Medina
Defending champ, world champ and not having the best year. Gabs is lethal in the tube, especially when it’s in that four to six foot range. He put in a good showing at J-Bay and looked like he’s getting his confidence back. While everyone is hating on him it’s not easy watching someone go from having the best year of their life to their worst year on tour. Maybe he needs to let Charlie sit out for an event and have Adriana Lima or one of Brazils finest scream him on from the channel.

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Have a look at this wave, would you? Owen jammed himself into bigger during the event. But certainly none more perfect.

Owen Wright
He’s been to Tahiti twice this year already and after Cloudbreak it would be hard not to put him in. J-Bay’s loss wasn’t the kind of loss that would throw his rhythm off. He surfed well and did the best he could on the waves he got so I think Owen is going into this event really excited and looking for another win. The good news for this year is he won’t have to pack any more closeouts and he can focus on being patient and getting the best waves in each heat.

Yeah, it's not Chopes, but it is Jeremy, and it is Tahiti. Never forget. Photo by Timo Jarvinen

Yeah, it’s not Chopes, but it is Jeremy, and it is Tahiti. Never forget. Photo by Timo Jarvinen

Jeremy Flores
Despite a recent head injury in Indo, Jeremy has been having a great year on and off tour. His surfing has looked better than ever since moving over to JS surfboards and we already know he’s a tube pig. He’s going to be rocking the Gath Helmet at Chopes which will be classic. Jeremy spends a lot of his off time in Tahiti hanging, surfing and preparing for upcoming events. Since Owen’s two perfect heats at Cloudbreak I think a lot of people have forgotten about Jeremy’s perfect heat at Teahupoo. Last year Jeremy was also banned from the Chopes contest due to a dispute with the head judge at J-Bay, but he still went there and dominated the freesurfs. I only hope Jeremy doesn’t put too much pressure on himself, but I think any pressure to succeed will be taken away by the Gath that will grace his pip.

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Nat, the kid from The Lane with the mechanical backhand? Yep, he can step up.

Nat Young
There’s a new surf site for Fantasy Surfer stats that’s gushing about Nat. I’ve always enjoy watching Nat surf because he has a cool approach to contest surfing; He does everything he can to be prepared on land so that when he goes out for his heat he lets the ocean take over. He’s a wave magnet but what I also like is he never claims and gets too emotional in heats. He’s had 10s out at big Pipe before and he’s also the right height to make four to six foot barrels look a bit bigger. I’m thinking quarterfinals for Mr Young.

We're yet to see Wiggolly in a Billabong Tahiti event, but after his performance at Cloudbreak (pictured)... he'll be very entertaining. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

We’re yet to see Wiggolly in a Billabong Tahiti event, but after his performance at Cloudbreak (pictured)… he’ll be very entertaining. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Wiggolly Dantas
Great out at Pipeline and in heavier waves, honorary Da Hui teamrider and fifth place in Fiji. Wiggolly started the year off strong, backed it up in Fiji and I think this is going to be the event he makes the push for Rookie Of The Year. If he can get away from hustling for priority and getting himself out of sync, he’s going to be hard to beat. For me he’s kinda like the new Ottz. He will keep getting a few good results in the beachbreaks and points but his real bread and butter will be the heavier reefs. Hanging out with Jeremy Flores and Raimana in Tahiti will really help his game.

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