Local Taumata Puhetini Wins Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Trials
Tahitian Taumata Puhetini’s near-perfect score to land him at the top of the podium for the Teahupoo Trials.
Today the Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Trials were held at Teahupoo. The trials saw 32 surfers(24 international invitees and 8 local Tahitian qualifiers) doing battle in 3-5 foot surf at Chopes.
The morning started off fairly consistent and clean with a near-perfect score from Tahitian Taumata Puhetini. Other standouts included Koa Smith from Hawaii, Australia's Ryan Callinan and Portugal's Nic Von Rupp.
In the quarterfinals things started to heat up with defending trials and Billabong Pro Tahiti champion Bruno Santos dispatching of young California ripper Taylor Clark. Bruno then met local Steven Pierson in the semifinals where the two went back and forth. In the end, Bruno's knack for finding the tubes proved to be the winning formula. In semifinal number two it was Ryan Callinan against local barrel hound Taumata Putehini. Both Ryan and Taumata had the day's highest heat scores going into the semi, and it was anyones game. In the end Taumata found the right waves and was able to take the win.
In the final Bruno Santos fought hard to repeat a trials win, but the local Tahitian Taumata Putehini was the man of the trials, unbeatable and earned his way to the top of the podium. It was a great day of surfing by everyone, and with swell on the horizon for Friday and Saturday there's a strong possibility for a start to the Billabong Pro Tahiti on either the first or second day of the waiting period. Make sure to check back with us for daily updates starting on the 14th!