World's Best Surfers Ready for Showdown at Billabong Pro Tahiti
Finishing off the midway part of the 2010 ASP World Tour season, the Billabong Pro Tahiti plays a vital role in both the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title and the midyear field reduction from the ASP Top 45 to the Top 34.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 1, is into his third season on the elite ASP World Tour, but enters into the Billabong Pro Tahiti as the No. 1 seed, a career first for the young South African.
With the added intensity of the midyear field reduction and the minefield of Teahupoo specialists lining the wildcard ranks, Smith understands the challenge awaiting him in this island paradise.
Smith will take on former ASP World Champion (2001) C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, and wildcard Manoa Drollet (PYF) in Round 1 of competition.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, has been a consistent performer thus far in 2010, but admits that not being a top seed in Tahiti is not necessarily a bad thing.
Fanning battles 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie Adam Melling (AUS), 25, and wildcard Tamaroa McComb (PYF) in Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Bobby Martinez (USA), 28, current ASP World No. 8 and defending Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion, has historically been one of the strongest performers at Teahupoo, but the lethal goofy-footer remains cautious when considering his options for the 2010 instalment.
Martinez will face Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, and Marco Polo (BRA), 29, in his opening round match.
Andy Irons (HAW), 32, former three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 18, took a sabbatical from full-time competing in 2009 and his transition back to the competition singlet this season as yielded moments of brilliance amidst an overall building momentum.
Irons will take on former nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 38, and wildcard Heiarii Williams (PYF) in Round 1 of competion.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, current ASP World No. 13, will round out the three Tahitian wildcards as the nation's sole competitor amongst the world's elite. Into his second year on the ASP World Tour, Bourez will look to improve upon last year's disappointing result at home.
Bourez faces veteran Australians Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, and Mick Campbell (AUS), 36, in his opening round bout.
The major storyline threading its way through the upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti is the mid-year field reduction of the ASP Top 45 to 34 (Top 32 finishers plus two wildcards) following the battle at Teahupoo.
A full breakdown of ASP World Title Rankings possibilities for the Billabong Pro Tahiti are available at ASPWorldTour.com
The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Tahiti will begin Monday, August 23 and run through September 3, 2010.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, are calling for a slow start to the contest waiting period with a very modest mix of southwest swells providing contestable, but small scale, surf on Monday and Tuesday.
The Billabong Pro Tahiti will be webcast LIVE via http://www.billabongpro.com/tahiti10/
BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS
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)