• Epic Opening Day for World’s Best at Billabong Pro Tahiti, Mammoth Swell Approaching

Round 1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui was completed today in clean four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) waves at Teahupo’o.

Event No. 5 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Billabong Pro Tahiti is facing a historic week of swell projected for the event, a fitting setting for the current ASP World Title Race as well as for those surfers looking to retain their spot amongst the world’s elite after the September rotation.

Following the next event on the 2011 ASP World Title season in New York, the current ASP Top 34 will be rotated with the top 32 surfers on the ASP World Rankings as well as two surfer wildcards. Those sitting on the bubble at the moment will be looking for major results here in Tahiti and at the next event to ensure their position as ASP Top 34 members for the remainder of the season.

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 32, current No. 18 on the ASP World Rankings, is well within the safety zone for the September rotation, but he certainly shook things up today, dispatching current frontrunner in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, in Round 1 of competition.

Hobgood netted the day's high heat total of a 19.37 out of a possible 20, including a near-perfect 9.87 out of a possible 10 single-wave score, for a blistering forehand assault amidst Teahupo'o's fanging lefthanders.

Travis Logie (ZAF), 32, current No. 44 on the ASP World Rankings, gained entry into the Billabong Pro Tahiti at the 11th hour with the withdrawal of Bobby Martinez (USA), 29. The South African embarked on a white-knuckle trip from Europe to Tahiti, showing up with less that 10 hours before his heat. The trip has already proven fruitful though, with Logie taking out his Round 1 heat and moving directly into Round 3.

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, current No. 2 on the ASP World Title Rankings, kept his 2011 campaign red-hot today, putting on a commanding backhand performance en route to his Round 1 victory. The young South African was enthusiastic with today's conditions and excited for the swell on the horizon.

Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, former two-time ASP World Champion and former Runner-Up at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, is sitting in the No. 4 on the ASP World Title Rankings and will look a big result at Teahupo’o to ignite his 2011 campaign.

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Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, missed out on the last event in South Africa and currently sits at No. 6 on the ASP World Title rankings. While a standout in yesterday’s ASP Top 34 warm-up, Slater scored a last-minute come-from-behind win over opponents Dan Ross (AUS), 28, and wildcard Heiarii Williams (PYF), 23.

Dusty Payne (HAW), 22, ASP Dream Tour sophomore, and Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, 2011 ASP Top 34 rookie, punctuated the day’s affairs with inspired exhibitions of backhand tube-riding.

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Wilson capped off the day by netting a near-perfect 9.83 out of a possible 10 for a Houdini-esque no hand barrel out at Teahupo’o to steal victory away from an in-form Josh Kerr (AUS), 27.

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

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BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Cory Lopez (USA) 12.83, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.47, Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.67
Heat 2: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.83, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.73, Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.27
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.07, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.40, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.73
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.23, Gabe Kling (USA) 13.97, Tiago Pires (PRT) 7.97
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.36, Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 14.47, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.47
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.96, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.07, Heiarii Williams (PYF) 10.47
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 11.47, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.53, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.33
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 19.38, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.60, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.33
Heat 9: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.90, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.53, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.10
Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.73, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.10, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.83
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.76, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.63, Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.17
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.84, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.27

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Heiarii Williams (PYF)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 11: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)