TEAHUPO'O, Taiarapu/French Polynesia (Saturday, August 27, 2011) -- The surf world has been waiting and now the wait is over; some of the biggest, scariest waves seen at Tahiti's infamous Teahupo'o have been tackled today by an elite crew of tow-surf specialists.
Teahupo'o is the primary site of Event 5 on the 2011 ASP Men's World Tour, the Billabong Pro presented by Air Tahiti Nui, which is midway through its 12 day waiting period, yet the world's top rated surfers were denied the opportunity to compete in historic conditions after the French Government last night issued a 24 hour "Code Red" advisory warning that prevents water craft from legal operation.
But with the 'swell of the decade' hitting the dangerous Teahupo'o reef, nothing was going to stop the tow-in aficionados who tracked the swell and flew in from all corners of the globe to ride it. With four-to-five metre waves slamming onto Teahupo'o's dangerously shallow reef, surfing's elite put their lives on the line as they chased the ultimate thrill.
Among those in the line-up were fearless Australian chargers Dylan Longbottom (Forrester's, NSW), Laurie Towner (Yamba, NSW), Dean Bowen (Gerroa, NSW), Koby Abberton (Maroubra, NSW) and Dean Morrison (Gold Coast, Qld).
Visiting Hawaiian surfers included Bruce Irons (Kauai), Kamelai Alexander (Kauai) and Kalanai Chapman (Oahu).
While Frenchman Ben Sanchis (FRA) and Californian Nathan Fletcher (USA) also made the last minute trip to the South Pacific.
Injuries were inevitable. Local legend Raimana Van Bastolaer (PYF) was among the first to get hurt, he was slammed and dragged onto the reef, cutting his back despite wearing a wetsuit vest and life jacket.
Former world tour surfer Dean Morrison was forced to shore and received medical attention for an ankle injury.
Assuming the French Government lifts the "Code Red" ban, organisers of the Billabong Pro hope to resume competition with Round 3 heats tomorrow, Sunday August 28th.