ASP World Tour Stop No.5: 2010 Billabong Pro Teahupoo

With the solid swells of Teahupoo, Tahiti and the added pressure of the mid-year ASP field reduction, this seasonís Billabong Pro Teahupoo is turning into one of the heaviest events in history.

2010 Billabong Pro Teahupoo.  Photo: ASP/ScholtzEvent No. 5 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, is to be held at a venue in Tahiti that boasts the most dangerous waves on the planet. 

Culminating the first half of the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Teahupoo will be the final opportunity for the ASP Top 45 to secure the results needed to finish in the Top 32 on the ASP World Title rankings. Following the event in Tahiti, only the Top 32 ranked surfers will continue on throughout the back half of the season.

Tom Whitaker is into his eighth season amongst the world’s elite, but a slow start in 2010 could see the Sydney-sider slip off the ASP World Tour following the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.

“The waves have been pretty fun this year and some great surfing has been going down,” Whitaker said. “Obviously, I have not got through as many heats as I would have liked, but that’s surfing – be patient and hopefully the waves will come.”

Currently ranked No. 33 on the ASP World Title rankings, Whitaker is confident in his abilities at the infamous break, and admits that his biggest concern will be missing his newborn son.

“The goal is to move up and get tubed,” Whitaker said. “I’m trying not to get too focused on the cutoff, just keep it simple and enjoy. Being away from my new son Finn is probably going to be the biggest challenge.”

Jeremy Flores, currently ranked No. 24 on the ASP World Title rankings, is into his fourth season amongst the world’s best surfers, and despite feeling relatively safe from the mid-year cut-off, admits to his slow start to 2010 playing with his confidence.

“This is kind of new for me,” Flores said. “I've always started the year well at the first few events, but not this year. However, I feel good in Tahiti. I love left barrels so hopefully I'll do something good there.”

Ben Dunn, into his fourth season on the ASP World Tour, is currently sitting No. 38 on the ASP World Title rankings and faces the possibility of falling outside the world’s elite in Tahiti. An able performer in all conditions, Dunn is avoiding thoughts of the cut-off until the Billabong Pro Teahupoo is finished.

“I’m trying not to think about that too much,” Dunn said. “Tahiti is an easy place to do well and it’s an easy place to lose. You just need to get the best waves and get pitted. If it’s big, it’s different. I’m just going to try to get the best pits and win my heats.”

Nate Yeomans (USA), 28, is another rookie who has had to deal with the harsh learning curve this year, and will need a major result in Tahiti if he is to keep his spot amongst the world’s best.

“It’s been a huge adjustment, but I feel I have been improving with each event,” Yeomans said. “The cutoff after five events is a bit rough for the rookies.”

Currently ranked No. 40 on the ASP World Title rankings, Yeomans understands what it takes to win out at Teahupoo and will put everything on the line to keep his dream alive.

“Getting the right waves is crucial out there,” Yeomans said. “If you’re not on the best waves out of the 25 minutes, the chances are you’re probably going to lose.”

The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti will begin Monday, August 23 and run through September 3, 2010.

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