5 Things You Should Know About the Billabong Pro Tahiti

By on August 14, 2014

Tahiti’s most famous wave is about to host and roast some of the world’s best surfers with the start of the ASP World Championship Tour Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupoo. Here’s five things you need to know about the world’s heaviest surfing competition.

1) It wasn’t supposed to be Discovered by the Outside World
Truth is, no one outside of Tahiti even knew about this wave until the mid 1990s when Surfing magazine staff photographer Hank (aka Hank Foto) was down there staying at local surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer’s house at Papara Beach on the main island. Hawaiian pro surfer Erik Barton was also there and ended up scoring the cover of the July 1994 issue of Surfing magazine. It was the first time the world outside of Tahiti saw the wave. It wasn’t macking by any means, but it sure was perfect.

2) Andy Irons won the first ever ASP held there in 1997
It’s hard to believe a wave this good went unnoticed by the ASP for so long, but in 1997 it all went down with the Black Pearl Horue Pro. The surf wasn’t mental by any means, but it sure was perfect. And at the time, it was all we could ask for. No one had ever heard about the mega swells that place could produce. And instead of hundreds of boats in the channel, there were only 14-15 boats hanging out. But everyone there knew they were witnessing something special, not just a glimpse of a future WCT event but the coming of age of Andy Irons. It was his first-ever professional win.

3) Raimana Van Bastolaer and Manoa Drollet are the undisputed kings of Teahupoo
Despite popular belief, or the fact Laird Hamilton was there on the first really huge day in 2000, or the fact that many outsiders have come in and scored the “wave of the swell”, Raimana and Manoa own this place. They’ve been surfing it longer than anyone, both frontside and backside respectively. So if you ever see either of these surfers, not that you will anytime soon, thank them for letting the world share their wave with them, for without their blessing and hospitality, there’d be no Billabong Tahiti Pro as we know it today.

4) The Biggest Swell of All
You’ve seen some big waves out there for sure, but the biggest swell the ASP ever saw while holding the event was in August of 2011. The surf was so big that they literally had to put the comp on hold. Guys were getting barrelled just as much as they were going to the hospital. The surf was that big and will go down as the heaviest Billabong Tahiti Pro of all time, no questions asked.

5) You’ll probably never see it in person yourself.
While most of the events on the ASP World Tour are fan friendly, the event at Teahupoo is anything but. The wave breaks a quarter mile out, and you can’t even watch it from the beach if you tried. You have to be on a boat in the channel. And even that’s not a surf shot guarantee you’ll see any of the action, because so many other boats will be out there jockeying for position. That’s if you can even score a boat, or a boat ride for that matter. And if you do, you better hope your boatman is skilled and versed in the ways of the reef. Many a boats have fallen victim to those inside waves, and going overboard on a boat in the channel at Teahupoo might be a bigger nightmare than actually going over the falls there. So rather than risk going all the way there and not even being able to see the comp, check it out online at www.ASPWorldTour. You’ll be safe, and just perhaps a little sorry. After all, nothing beats watching that event from the channel.



About Skip Snead

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