Still no waves in the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti

Small surf in the three-to-four foot (1 metre) range and less-than-ideal winds prompted event organizers at the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui to call competition off for the day.

Event No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti completed the opening 14 heats of Round 1 last Saturday, but has since held off in hopes of improved conditions.

“We thought the swell would have filled in by now but it hasn’t hit yet so we’ve called competition off for today,” Luke Egan, Billabong Pro Tahiti Contest Director, said. “We’re monitoring some swell energy that could be filling in over the next few days so we’ll be back tomorrow to make another call.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.

When competition resumes, up first will be Heitor Alves (BRA), 27, against 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, in Heat 15 of Round 1.

Surfline, official foreers for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, are calling for a moderate WSW swell to fill throughout today with favorable winds, followed by another WSW swell from Thursday through the weekend.

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Marlon Lipke

The Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui has been called off for the day, with lumpy four-foot (1.5 metre) swell and onshore winds replacing the near-perfection of yesterday.

Stop No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti saw the opening 14 heats of the man-on-man elimination Round 1 completed yesterday, and with the projections calling for improved conditions in the coming days, event organizers opted to hold competition off for the day.

“We obviously don’t have the idyllic conditions that graced us yesterday with the swell a bit lump and the wind onshore,” Luke Egan, Billabong Pro Contest Director, said. “We’ve called competition off for the day, but are monitoring swell and winds for the coming days and it looks like we may be running again soon. We’ll be back tomorrow morning to make another decision.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 7am start.

When competition resumes, first up will be Heitor Alves (BRA), 27, against 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, in Heat 15 of Round 1.

Surfline, official surf analysts for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, are calling for the current of Southeasterly swell to pulse through the day with variable winds before being replaced by a more favorable WSW swell on Tuesday and Wednesday with improved winds.

Highlights from yesterday’s Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui are available at http://www.billabongpro.com/

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Dean Morrison

The Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui, Stop No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, got underway this morning, with the world’s best surfers contesting the first 14 heats of the elimination, man-on-man Round 1 in pulsing four-to-six foot (2 metre) barrels on offer at Teahupoo.

Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 19, took today’s top honors as he displayed sensational form for his Round 1 win over 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Nathaniel Curran (USA), 24. The Australian exhibited a preternatural rapport with the ledging Teahupoo lefthanders, netting an excellent 9.00 out of a possible 10 single-wave score en route to the highest heat total of the day (a 17.00 out of a possible 20.)

“I just try to position myself well and try to get the set waves or rather the best one in the set,” Morrison said. “Just try to read it right and get deep in the tube. The secret is actually not taking off at the peak, but a little behind the peak so that you can edge into it. Just take off and hold on – that’s all you can do.”

In addition to putting up the biggest scores of the day, Morrison also entertained the throngs of spectators in the channel with the most spectacular wipeout of the round, a late to cart-wheeling inside the tube before being blasted towards the shallow reef.

“That wave was probably pretty funny from the channel,” Morrison said. “It was a bit of a late and I should have came more over my front foot, but I was on my backfoot and did a few summersaults in there. Fortunately, I was pretty deep and didn’t hit the bottom.”

Recovering from a devastating hip injury that saw Morrison sit out the last several events of the 2008 ASP World Tour season, the progressive natural-footer is on the mend and looking to claw himself back to the top of the ASP Top 45 ratings. Despite a disappointing equal 33rd place finish at the opening event of the season, Morrison has since rebounded, collecting an equal 9th at the second event before putting in today’s sterling performance.

“My recovery has been pretty good,” Morrison said. “The last few months, that’s been my main focus, rehabbing. It’s been hard work, but it’s been worth it. I still don’t feel like I’m surfing at 100%, but I am getting there and I feel like I’m getting stronger every day.”

Andy Irons (HAW), 30, former three-time ASP World Champion, is on sabbatical from full-time competition this season, but accepted a wildcard into the Billabong Pro Tahiti, where the powerful Hawaiian dispatched of Brazilian Jihad Khodr, 25, convincingly, netting an impressive 8.67 out of a possible 10 for a sizzling backhand pit

“The win feels good,” Irons said. “It’s been four months since I put a jersey on and it still fits. Surfing fun-sized Teahupoo with one other guy out, there’re no complaints. I’m stoked to get through and looking forward to the next one.”

Irons, a past winner at the Billabong Pro Tahiti (2002), will face last year’s ASP World Tour Runner-Up Bede Durbidge (AUS), 26, in Round 2 when competition recommences.

“It’s going to be really hard against Bede (Durbidge),” Irons said. “He is a really focused competitor. I’m not worried though. I’m not here competing for points or anything like that. I’m just here having fun and I’ll be stoked to surf against him.”

Heiarii Williams (PYF), 22, Von Zipper Trials winner and wildcard in the Billabong Pro Tahiti, continued his devastating roll today, ousting 2009 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 9, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, in Round 1 of competition.

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