Stab Magazine | Teahupo'o Does Its Best HB Impression On Day 2
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Teahupo’o Does Its Best HB Impression On Day 2

What’s a League gotta do to get some swell around here?

news // Aug 14, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If yesterday required the vice of gambling to make the 2018 Tahiti Pro watchable, then today required gambling and psychedelic drugs.

Lots of them.

Unfortunately surf betting isn’t readily accessible in the Americas (seriously, someone get on that shit) and I’m too much of a pussy to ingest acid or shrooms, so my day was spent watching the some of the most sterile surfing performances since my mate Erwin lost his gonads in a pier-shooting accident.

That never actually happened but the analogy was needed to convey just how drab the conditions have been, and will most likely continue to be, for this Championship Tour event.

Nevertheless, the World Title race remains in the throes of chaos so cover this event we must! Again we’ll break the day’s “action” down heat-by-heat, for consistency’s sake.

Round 2 Heat 4: Mikey Wright vs. Miguel Pupo

The battle of the (semi) Michaels went down in the sickness of morn, with Teahupo’o’s dark blue walls plagued by the wrinkles of a poor night’s rest. Brazilian Michael tried to hide under the lip while Australian Michael decided to blow right through it, and the judges rightfully sided with tenacity over temerity, ultimately awarding the Wright guy the win.

Round 2 Heat 5: Griffin Colapinto vs. Ian Gouveia

Despite his impressive 10th seed coming into the event, Griffin Colapinto found himself the underdog in today’s almost-barreling conditions, Reason being, the strong but statureless Ian Gouveia was custom-made to bowl through crumbly chandeliers, allowing him to build a more sturdy scoreline than that of the gangly Californian.

…and the Californian wunderkid is out! Photo: WSL/Poullenot

Round 2 Heat 6: Owen Wright vs. Joan Duru

A bona fide hole-hound from the barrel factory of Biarritz, it was odd to see Joan Duru fumble multiple tube attempts even in today’s tricky conditions. Meanwhile Owen Wright did what Owen Wright does, fitting his oversized limbs into acute positions and shooting seamlessly out of Teahupo’o’s end, giving him the easy win over the seasick Frenchman.

Round 2 Heat 7: Conner Coffin vs. Michael February

I missed this heat, but from what I can see in the scoreline, Conner Coffin caught two mediocre waves while Michael February caught three. Three is slightly bigger than two, so Michael will surf again in Round 3. “The Surf Ranch will be fun,” Conner said after the loss. “At least you know you’ll catch waves in that heat.” This raises the question: are even top pros turning their backs on the ocean?

Round 2 Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues vs. Keanu Asing

Michael Rodrigues has quite a whippy backhand approach, while Keanu tends to drive through his maneuvers. Had this heat come down to turns alone, Keanu would have won. Unfortunately for him, M-Rod squeaked a large but foamy tube and put up the highest number of the match. That can happen out here, even when it’s shitty.

Round 2 Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi vs. Matt Wilkinson

Today’s Teahupo’o could be compared to the best day ever at Huntington Beach Pier – the site of Kanoa Igarashi’s back-to-back US Open wins. In those wins Kanoa has dissected HB’s pier-bound lefthander, often jamming his front foot down and sending fins and spray well above the lip. He performed those same impressive turns today and sent a below-the-qualification-line Matt Wilkinson home packing.

A tough year that’s only getting tougher for the previously consistent owner of the yellow jersey. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Round 2 Heat 10: Jeremy Flores vs. Pat Gudauskas

Jeremy Flores looks weirdly off balance day, as he constantly had fold his body in half to properly re-distribute his weight after a turn. Despite this, the judges are holding onto hope that Teahupo’o will come alive in this waiting, which is why they gave him a slight nudge past the ever-smiling Pat Gudauskas. You simply can’t have a tube event without J-Flo.  

Round 2 Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz vs. Jesse Mendes

Like J-Flo, Sebastian Zietz also looked off-kilter today, but that was likely due to his board selection more than anything. Despite the conditions being playful for Teahupo’o’s standards, the South Pacific still packs a punch that EPS can’t appear to handle. With the window left slightly ajar in the heat’s final moments, Jesse did a meager fin drift then safety-surfed his way to a Round 3 berth. It wasn’t a great ending to the heat, but the judges got it right. 

Yago don’t need no Teahupo’o tube! Photo: WSL/Cestari

Round 2 Heat 12: Tomas Hermes vs. Yago Dora

The only wave worth watching today was caught (ironically) just before KP called the competition off. Hucking a carbon copy punt from Gabriel’s Round 1 stunner, the only difference today was Yago’s one-footed landing, wherein his front leg embraced all of the impact on-board while his back paw slid perfectly along the water, not unlike a barefoot skier. It’s a shame that Yago’s innate talent doesn’t always lend itself to the WSL’s competition format.

Dial in again tomorrow (or whenever it runs) for more of the same!

Tahiti Pro Remaining Round 2 Results:
Heat 4: Mikey Wright (AUS) 10.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.33
Heat 5: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.27 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.06
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.27 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 6.00
Heat 7: Michael February (ZAF) 7.67 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 7.60
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.90 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.37
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.37
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.90 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.70
Heat 11: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.03 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.70
Heat 12: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.57 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 7.83

Tahiti Pro Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Tikanui Smith (PYF)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA

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