Teahupoo's Lighter Side
By all accounts, the conditions for the free surf sessions at Teahupoo in Tahiti have been all-time. Oil glass water and perfect 6-to-8-foot surf. And best of all, it looks like things are really going to kick into overdrive when the Billanbong Pro Tahiti resumes with a mega swell roaring in the forecast.
John John Florence
A favorite to win at Teahupoo, John John Florence could benefit from some good luck this year. Hands-down one of the best backside tube riders in the world, he's going to be tough to beat if the surf gets as powerful as forecasted. He'll face his Hawaiian friend Seabass in Round 3.
Goofy-footed and uber talented, Kai Otton could be the dark horse that wins this thing. He's been standing tall in the warmup sessions, been nearly perfect in his wave selection and with good boards and the right mindset, he's going to be tough to beat.
One that Got Away
Some waves are better left unridden.
Sweet, Sweet Tahiti
The end of the road in Tahiti. Yes, this qualifies as heaven on Earth.
Rated No. 1 in the world, Gabriel Medina has been logging serious water time at Teahupoo, and a win here will put him in firm control of the race for the 2014 world title. For the time being, it appears he's in cruise control and feeling very comfortable at the Tahitian reef pass.
Even though he's suspended by the ASP for an outburst at J-Bay, Jeremy Flores came to Tahiti anyway, and had some fun even though he won't have a shot at a paycheck. He already was forced to miss the U.S. Open, and will also be absent at Trestles. Ultimately, the suspension could cost him his spot on the world tour. After winning the Andy Irons Memorial Award a couple years back, he will be very much missed in the lineup.
Classic "Kerrzy" style, Josh Kerr goes with hands free dialing.
Brazil's Raoni Monteiro locked into a gem in a free surf session. Then, Florence sent him packing in Round 2.
Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz was in Tahiti filming for an Oakley project less than a month ago, so he's certainly no stranger to Teahupoo. And growing up in Hawaii, he loves getting stuffed in the tube more than just about anything. Can he beat John John Florence in their Round 3 duel?
The S.S. Goods
It doesn't get much better than some C.J. Hobgood boat banter. Watch for Hobgood to be a serious threat when the surf goes next level. He'll face Bede Durbidge in Round 3.
Julian Wilson is so hot right now -- just as long as you don't pay attention to a string of five 13th-place finishes this year and his Round 2 loss at the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
Jordy Smith has always struggled at Teahupoo, and after a disappointing third place finish at J-Bay going out in Round 2 wasn't what he planned.
It's going to take young Aussie Jack Robinson a few more years to get taste of Tahiti and learn to manage the inside reef.
Native son Michel Bourez has not performed well at his home break, but after his younger brother face-planted into the reef during the trials and was rushed to the hospital, perhaps he'll finally have the motivation to go out there and dominate like everybody knows he can. He goes up against Artiz Aranburu in the next round.
Mitch Crews trying to strike some rookie magic and get on a roll at Teahupoo. He's going to have his work cut out for him surfing against guys that have made a career out of lighting up the break that translates into "the wall of skulls."
Mysto man Anthony Walsh always hiding in the mist. He's one of the best out there on any given day.
Thank You and Good Night