2018 TAHITI PRO TEAHUPOO PREVIEW
Chopes, Cho-poo, Chow-poh, or Teahupo’o. No matter how you say it everyone has the same opinion of the place - it’s next level.
Heaving pits on a crazy slab of Tahitian coral, this wave is reserved for professionals and madmen. Over the years, the event at Teahupo’o has seen some absolutely wild moments - from twin 10's by Kelly Slater, to the gigantic year when some surfers were just stoked to make it in alive from their heats. This year is shaping up to be epic once again.
Here’s how the Billabong team are likely to stack up when it comes to battle in this gladiatorial arena…
This will be Parko’s 17th and final year at the event in Tahiti. 17 years! You think he has the line up dialed yet? (Spoiler: Yes he does.) In that time he’s had multiple 10 point rides, a couple of quarterfinal finishes and one runner-up finish. The only placing that has eluded him, however, is first. You can bet Joel will be stinging to right that record and go out with a big trophy held over his head this time around. Deadly in the barrel, cool under pressure and at home in heavy water, Parko has to be one of the guys everyone is looking at to go big when the contest hooter sounds.
Italo sticks to left-hand barrels like a fly sticks to...well, you know. In his rookie year at Teahupo’o, he wove through countless turquoise pipes to finish 5th and show he’s not scared to charge hard when things get serious. Combine that with his current stellar form and the Brazilian Pocket Rocket could once again be launching himself into yellow-jersey territory after this event. Small, big, or somewhere in the middle - it will be less about swell forecast for Italo and more about making sure he’s on the right nuggets come showtime. One would think that after a few years on tour, he’s now got the line up pretty sorted in Tahiti.
It’s Griffin’s first time out on this neon dancefloor, but he does have the moves to be able to knee slide into many a Tahitian groove. Griff won the Triple Crown last year, showing he’s no slouch when the Polynesian juice starts pumping, plus he has veteran coach Jake Paterson making sure he’s lining up with the right mountaintops along the shoreline. While Griff’s not the first person that springs to mind when you think crazy left pits, give that a little time and Colapinto’s name could become synonymous with butt-dragging pig dog. Apart from him trying to explain that term to someone who doesn’t surf, this has to be a good thing.
Freddy’s record at Teahupo’o is both short and unimpressive. A round 2 exit from one start, racking up a total of just 8 points. Not ideal if you’re into history as the best way to predict the future. Still, Fred does have a lot in his corner when it comes to big left barrels. He grew up in Portugal where the waves at Supertubos are as big and hollow as just about anywhere on the planet. He’s also been actively been working on his backhand tube riding and already has a backhand blast that makes most power surfers weep with envy. If he can pick the right waves, he has the skills to be able to go from underdog to ubermensch. To save you busting out a Google search, that last weird word means superman.
Photos courtesy of the World Surf League (@wsl) & Ryan Miller (@badboyryry_)