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Sunday, August 15, 2010
Updated: August 16, 11:13 AM ET
Teahupoo, the prelude


The countdown is on. It's strange being on the ground early for a contest and there is not much going on. Where are the tents, where are the signs, where are the surfers? Have I got the dates right?

I have arrived early, I know that, but there really isn't much going on at Teahupoo, aka "the End of The Road." When I enquire about the lack of activity I find out the Billabong Pro Tahiti container, shipped from Australia with all the contest guff is 'late'. The Tahitian guy I talk to just shrugs with a big smile and says, "It'll be ok."

Things are going to happen but on Tahitian Time.

The Billabong Pro Tahiti has never been held at this time of the year before and according to a lot of crew it's a big gamble, especially with the winds and weather, something I'm finding out firsthand.

Take a good look -- it won't be this empty for long.

Rain, rain and more rain has been on the menu since I arrived 4 days ago. The winds are swinging and blowing from all over the place and we even had one storm that started with wind from the northwest and was howling from the southwest by the time it had finished.

On the up side, there has been surf, not big, but a mix of 3 to 6-foot from the south and southwest. Enough waves to give the first timers a little taste of the waves and conditions.

Since I arrived, the Von Zipper trialists have been filtering into town. Alvaro Malpartida from Peru is one who arrived early to get to know the spot.

Love hurts.

"I've been wanting to come here for so long," he told me on his first morning. Two hours later he was back with what gets describes as a "Lover's kiss." Alvaro suffered a two wave hold down and was pitched onto the reef back first. The lime juice treatment to his open wounds had him screaming in pain. As one of the local crew in the water put it, "You're in love with Teahupoo and now she has given you a lovers kiss."

More trialists arrived over the next couple of days and they bring the news that there is an 11-foot swell at 17 second swell due Sunday. Could be big solid paddle in or small tow in, we'll have to wait and see.

That news sparked some activity. The swell is arriving in time for the trials, the container finally arrived, and has been unpacked and now there are signs that a contest is about to happen.

We're going to get a day of free surfing before the Von Zipper Trials kicks off which is making everyone happy. Teahup'oo is the kind of place that can go from sleepy village to a hive activity especially when a swell arrives. One more sleep and we'll see the giant awake.