Billabong Pro Tahiti: the waves are arriving in a plane

After going on hold for the majority of the morning, event organizers called the Billabong Pro Tahiti off for the sixth day in a row, but a new southwest swell projected to fill in tomorrow could have the world’s best surfers in the water within the next 24 hours.

Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti has yet to commence competition, but a favourable southwest swell filling in over the next few days all but guarantees the competition will begin soon.

“It’s another beautiful day in Tahiti but still no surf so competition is off,” Richie Porta, ASP International Head Judge, said. “We’re tracking some energy that is supposed to be bringing better direction and better swell starting tomorrow afternoon so we’ll return in the morning to assess conditions.”

Surfline, official forecasters for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, are calling for a small, long period southwest swell will continue on Friday, which will offer a slight increase in size and power from what we saw earlier in the week. A larger and medium size south-southswell swell will build in Monday. The long range forecast continues to look more promising as well.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6am to assess conditions for a possible 6:30am start.

When competition commences, up first will be Damien Hobgood (USA), 31, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 25, and Jay Thompson (AUS), 28, in the opening heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Nate Yeomans (USA)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 4: Dane Reynolds (USA), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Tamaroa McComb (PYF)
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Tuamata Puhetini (PYF)
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Andy Irons (HAW), Heiarii Williams (PYF)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW), Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 13: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 14: Michel Bourez (PYF), Dean Morrison (AUS), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Taylor Knox (USA), Luke Munro (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 16: Chris Davidson (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS)

Pauline Ado: the surfboard rests after many miles

Pauline Ado (Hendaye, FRA), 18, added another title to her brilliant career today after winning the 2010 ASP European Women’s title in Pantin, Ado’s equal 5th place finish rocketing her to the top of the regional hierarchy ahead of fellow title contenders Alizee Arnaud (Hossegor, FRA) and Canelle Bulard (St Leu, REU).

Ado, who struck again with her improved solid surfing against some of the world’s best female surfers in the Cabreira Surfing Girls event at Pantin, had to wait till her closest ratings’ followers got eliminated respectively in heats two and three of the Quarterfinals to secure a second regional title this year after her ASP European Women’s Junior crown earned in Lacanau a couple of weeks ago.

“I feel really good to win this title especially after winning the junior series,” Ado said. “after I lost in the quarterfinals today I was watching Alizee (Arnaud) and Canelle (Bulard) because I knew if they got a good result they could win the crown here too. I have been coming here for a few years, won the event in the past but also remember losing the title here so I have my revenge and it feels good.”

In her first year competing full-time on the ASP Women’s Star Series and ranked No. 15 coming to Pantin, Ado had a double campaign in Spain with both the regional title and the ASP Women’s World Tour qualification on the line. The 18-year-old French representative managed both reaching the Quarterfinals in the second ASP 6-Star rated event of the summer and clinching the crown.

In good position towards her ultimate goal, the ASP Women’s World title race qualification, Ado showed again 2010 was her year in Europe, a promising finish before heading into the last quarter of the year and two ASP 6-Star events only remaining.

Despite losing to an unstoppable Courtney Conlogue (California, USA) in Quarterfinal No. 1 earlier today and having to live through a stressful wait to see Arnaud and Bulard fall after her, Ado leaves Spain relieved with added confidence under her belt and in promising form before the qualification showdown.

“I will see how this year finishes and it is going to be hard,” Ado said. “It will be hard to get on the ASP Women’s World Tour but you never know, another couple of results could make it happen. I am happy with both my fifth place finish and the regional crown today and I’ll enjoy that for now.”

Finishing runner-up on the 2010 ASP European Women’s ratings, 16-year-old Canelle Bulard showed as well she was only starting her run amongst the regional best and aiming at more. Bulard, who clinched her career best today with an equal 5th in the ASP 6-Star event at Pantin, confirmed her promising potential and will as well be focusing on a possible ASP Women’s World title race qualification in the upcoming events in Brazil and Hawaii.

Ranked No. 12 coming to Pantin, Bulard’s performance in Spain will boost her confidence and hopefully push the Reunion Island native and resident inside the coveted ASP Women’s World ranking Top 6 that rockets contenders into the prestigious women’s world title race.

1st, Pauline Ado (FRA), 2819 pts
2nd, Canelle Bulard (REU), 2626 pts
3rd, Joanne Defay (REU), 2538 pts
4th, Alizee Arnaud (FRA), 2328 pts
5th, Justine Dupont (FRA), 2259 pts

Gony Zubizarreta: playing in home waves

The final 16 remaining surfers in the Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic Presented by Billabong were decided during another day of changing conditions at the main event site of Pantin.

Solid 6-8ft (2m) waves jacked up overnight allowing the international field of athletes the playing field they had been waiting for at this Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) sanctioned event. Standout performances were many as the men relished in the over-head conditions. Surprisingly the swell decreased rapidly through the afternoon session of competition which saw the quarter-finalists decided in the Cabreiroa Surfing Girls.

Gony Zubizarreta (Vigo, ESP) 25, ignited with a combined two-wave heat total of 18.04 out of a possible 20 in his first up heat this morning and then backed it up with another solid heat win in Round 4 to find himself in the final 16 competitors remaining in the event. Laying down several powerful forehand turns on his last wave, Zubizarreta claimed a 9.37 the highest single wave score of the event.

“Today I started really well with 18 points in the first heat and now another good heat with a 7.5 and a 6.5 so I am pleased to get through heats here in Pantin. In my first heat the tide was lower and there was more swell so I was able to do bigger turns with more power. Now the tide is higher and the waves are smaller so I was more nervous in this last one.”

Zubizarreta explains how overnight the classic right hander of Pantin returned into action for today’s action at the Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic presented by Billabong.

“The main bank has been more in the middle of the beach lately however with the swell last night the sand has been moved closer to the cliff and the right is working. It is great to ride this wave again and I think all the guys are stoked to be out the back on the peak.”

Adam Robertson (AUS) 28, made it through to the next round with only seconds remaining behind Jay Quinn (NZL) who dominated the encounter. Needing only a modest score to advance, Robertson changed peaks in search of his needed score. Falling short on his first attempt the natural-footer paddled into a left as the final countdown began.

“I was watching the rights two heats ago and it was getting bumpy and hard to do a clean turn. I was watching the lefts and knew that if I was not getting anything on the right I would try the left. I am confident that I can always get in a couple of turns on a left. I caught that first one and it just wasn’t enough and then that last one came with only 10 seconds to go so I guess my tactics paid off for sure.”

Also having a magic opening heat this morning with two excellent scores, Robertson had to return to his hotel after arriving at the beach and seeing the size of the swell to get bigger boards for today.

“The waves this morning were so good. It was the first time I had ridden a short board in a month. I have been riding a small-wave board for so long now. It was good to get some speed and not have to work for it. You could just stand there and go so fast, it felt weird actually. (laughs)”

Richard Christie (NZL) was once again the form surfer with a commanding win along with fellow Kiwi, Billy Stairmand. Getting off to his now trademark solid start Christie waited patiently for his backup score. Sharing the last set of the heat the New Zealanders ousted Nat Young (USA) who never found his rhythm during the 25-minute clash.

“That heat went perfectly for Billy (Stairmand) and me. Our other friend Jay (Quinn) made it through so we were pumped to get out there. All three of us are through so we couldn’t be happier.”

“I got that good ride at the start and that is what I’ve been trying to do in all my heats, to get that first one. Then I knew I only had to beat a 5 point ride so I waited and I got a 6.7 and then Billy caught the next wave which was a lot better so it worked out perfectly for us.”

Courtney Conlogue (USA) showed her consistency advancing along with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) who competed with a cut foot suffered in practice early this morning. Conlogue gave no chance to her opponents with an opening ride of 8.5 to gain control of the heat.

“When you start your heat with an 8.5 you are definitely stoked getting it going like that and then you just need a backup score and then start replacing those scores. I went out there trying to get the exchanges before the tide came up too much so you just have to go out and try and accomplish those things.”

On her first visit to Pantin Conlogue talks about how the changing conditions not only here but at other European events has affected her approach to competing.

“It is hard trying to adapt to the conditions here on the European tour. The tides can play a big part in how the waves can break. One minute it is breaking out the back and then the peak shifts so you have to be on your toes.”

Alizee Arnaud (FRA) kept her European Open Title hopes alive to advance into the quarter-finals of the Cabreiroa Surfing Girls along with current European Women’s Series leader Pauline Ado (FRA). Waiting patiently for the waves to arrive Arnaud built on her scores to eventually finish off with an excellent 9.33 out of a possible 10.

“I was waiting on the inside and in the first 10 minutes I didn’t catch any waves then I started with a 6.8 and in the end I got that 9.33 so I was really happy and relaxed.”

“I wanted to be European Junior champion this year,” explained Arnaud. “I was not thinking about the Open tile. Now my main goal is the World Junior Championships but if I am European champ I will be over the moon.”

First call tomorrow will be at 09:00 (local time) for the Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic Presented by Billabong and the Cabreiroa Surfing Girls.

Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) Vs Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) Vs Alizee Arnaud (FRA)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) Vs Cannelle Bulard (REU)
Heat 4: Laura Enever (AUS) Vs Paige Hareb (NZL)

Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic presented by Billabong Round Five Matchups
Heat 1: Jay Quinn (NZL) Vs Nathaniel Curran (USA)
Heat 2: Adam Robertson (AUS) Vs Sebastien Zietz (HAW)
Heat 3: Richard Christie (NZL) Vs Pedro Henrique (BRA)
Heat 4: Billy Stairmand (NZL) Vs Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 5: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) Vs Bernardo Miranda (BRA)
Heat 6: Tim Boal (FRA) Vs Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 7: Heitor Alves (BRA) Vs Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) Vs Pablo Paulino (BRA)

Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.27, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.77, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 9.27
Heat 2: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 16.16, Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.06, Ornella Pellizzari (ARG) 10.93
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.00, Laura Enever (AUS) 11.00, Freya Prumm (AUS) 5.66
Heat 4: Paige Hareb (NZL) 15.34, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 9.23, Joanne Defay (FRA) 6.80

Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic presented by Billabong Round Four Results
Heat 1: Jay Quinn (NZL) 12.04, Adam Robertson (AUS) 10.00, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 9.44
Heat 2: Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 14.87, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.04, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 8.73
Heat 3: Richard Christie (NZL) 14.94, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 14.84, Nat Young (USA) 7.50
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.33, Pedro Henrique (BRA) 12.00, Rhys Bombaci (AUS) 9.00
Heat 5: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.00, Tim Boal (FRA) 8.60, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 4.29
Heat 6: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 13.33, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 11.00, William Cardoso (BRA) 9.00
Heat 7: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.90, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.70, Indar Perez (EUK) 4.94
Heat 8: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 14.30, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.16, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 9.50

Ferrolterra Movistar Pantin Classic presented by Billabong Round Three Results
Heat 1: Adam Robertson (AUS) 15.84, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.66, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.67, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.24
Heat 2: Romain Cloitre (FRA) 11.77, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.16, Odirlei Coutinho (BRA) 9.60, Jayke Sharp (AUS) 9.20
Heat 3: Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 13.33, Jay Quinn (NZL) 11.87, Cory Lopez (USA) 9.93, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.06
Heat 4: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.83, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 11.77, Mickey Picon (FRA) 11.46, Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 8.40
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) 11.33, Rhys Bombaci (AUS) 10.16, Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 8.77, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.67
Heat 6: Pedro Henrique (BRA) 14.93, Richard Christie (NZL) 14.26, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 13.27, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 10.70
Heat 7: Tim Boal (FRA) 15.47, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 13.33, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.00, Messias Felix (BRA) 10.47
Heat 8: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 18.04, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 14.60, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 13.40, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.34
Heat 9: William Cardoso (BRA) 15.43, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 10.67, Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 7.50, Austin Ware (USA) 5.25
Heat 10: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 10.67, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 9.56, Granger Larsen (HAW) 8.73, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 1.60
Heat 11: Indar Perez (EUK) 13.53, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 12.50, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.07, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 9.53
Heat 12: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.57, Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.47, Dyyan Neve (AUS) 7.77, Casey Brown (HAW) 5.17