Billabong Pro Tahiti - Air Tahiti Nui Trials
The morning of the Air Tahiti Nui Trials we awoke to an angry and confused ocean. The beautiful sunrise from the morning before was replaced with cloud coverage and pouring rain. Nevertheless, trials competitors grabbed their boards and headed out into the unruly 6-8 foot surf to give their all in the hopes of making it into the main event.
Highlights from the early rounds included Kevin Johnson finding a diamond in the rough with an 8.87 barrel ride, and a wayward boat ending up on the reef only to be picked up by waves and safely placed in the lagoon. No one was injured and the boat itself seemed to get away unscathed as well.
Billabong’s top two riders in the trials were youngsters Finn McGill from the US and Riley Laing from Australia. The two made it into the quarterfinals but were barely edged out in the deteriorating conditions. The final saw Nathan Hedge and Aritz Aranburu matching up against one another. Both are former World Championship Tour competitors and went toe to toe in the final. In he end, Aritz took the win and will see himself into the main event of the Billabong Pro Tahiti accompanied by top Tahitian finisher Taumata Puhetini.
The forecast for the main event looks promising for a Friday, August 11th, start! Waves are forecasted to be in the 6-8 foot range with favorable winds! Stay tuned for all of the action ahead.