The final two wildcard positions in the Billabong Pro Tahiti have been decided!
The final two wildcard positions in event #5 on the Association of Surfing Professionals Men's World Tour, the Billabong Pro, have been decided today with Brazilian Ricardo Dos Santos (Guarda Do Embau, BRA) and local Heiarri Williams (PYF) finishing first and second respectively in the Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials at Teahupo'o in Tahiti.
Santos and Williams went wave for wave in the 25-minute decider to finish ahead of 30 other international invitees to claim the coveted wildcard spots in the event that is considered the most prestigious of its kind on the annual pro surfing calendar.
Just the winner and highest placed local are given a shot of taking on the likes of Kelly Slater (USA), current world number 1 Joel Parkinson (AUS) and recent ASP Tour winner, Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Billabong Pro main event which starts next week (Aug 20th - 31st).
Santos amassed plenty of time inside Teahupoo's tubes en route to his trials victory, the 21 year-old finishing on 14.33 points out of a possible 20 to Williams' 11.33 total. When the goofy foot pulls on the coloured jersey again in a week's time, it will be his second shot at glory this year, having already received a main event wildcard into the Rio Pro back in homewaters back in May.
Williams is a two-time former Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials winner, having claimed the event in spectacular fashion in awesome conditions in 2006 and then again in 2009. With an armada full of local family and fans cheering him on from the channel, Williams was spurred to his third trials final appearance, taking down former Billabong Pro Tahiti champion, Bruno Santos (BRA) in the quarter-finals.
Hawaiian Bruce Irons (Kauai, HAW) made a rare competitive appearance at the venue where his late brother, three-times ASP Men's World Champion, Andy, remains defending champion having won here in 2010.
Bruce rode one of Andy's boards and logged up some tube-time in his opening heat, before being eliminated in a lully Round 2 affair against Walsh, local Taumata Puhetini (PYF) and Tikanui Smith (PYF).
Watch the Billabong Pro Tahiti LIVE at www.billabongpro,com