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It was an emotional day at Teahupoo. The whole emotional gamut was on display from total frustration, to rage, to elation, to advanced stages of jubilation -- no one was holding back. The fact that the fellas have been Facebooking and hackey-sacking for seven straight lay days might have something to do with that.
The swell came up into the three to four-foot range on the Tahitian scale with ideal winds and barrels, if small ones for this man-eater of a wave. The surf was very performance oriented for Teahupoo -- kind of like enjoying a picnic on what's usually a battlefield.
It was also a busy day with 22 heats run. The last heat of the day saw Nate Yeomens and Jadson Andre paddling to the boats in the near dark.
|Mick Fanning with his typical focus and form.|
The official start time was going to be 6:30 a.m. but Kekoa Becalso was missing from the first heat. He was given a little bit of leeway from the contest officials as they started the heat on the first set that came through and 6:40 am. Unfortunately Kekoa was still about a mile away, back at the marina angrily explaining he hadn't been informed about the start.
"Hey I didn't get no text," he yelled to officials as he was whisked away on a jet ski. He was about five minutes late for the start. He lost the heat but is yet to surf the second round.
Bobby Martinez and Taj Burrow, the defending champion and defending runner up, both lost twice. Virtually by the time the sunset afterglow had left the Tahitian sky, so had Martinez on the next flight.
|Bobby Martinez never shut the door on Marco Polo and is already back at LAX.|
"I don't know what happed," he said when he returned to the house, "I just don't have any answers. I just couldn't come out of any barrels today. I don't know what was wrong. Jeremy Flores was playing games with us in the first round and I wasn't worried about that loss, but I don't have any answers to my second round loss."
After Burrow's first round loss to Tiago Pires, he gave his Firewire a couple of quick punches. After his second round, it was a headbutt. His frustration was obvious.
Martinez, the most likely surfer to make Round Three lost to Brazilian, Marco Polo the least likely surfer to make Round Three. Polo had not won a single heat in the WCT until today, but was ecstatic after the win, yelling to a boatload of loyal Brazilian supporters. Adriano de Souza translated his yelling and explained he was "thanking God," for his win. Polo is sitting at No. 44 on the ASP ratings and would virtually have to win the contest to avoid the inevitable mid-season cut off from 45 to 32, which will take place after this contest.
|Andy Irons was among the surfers to leave the wave surface at Teahupoo, a pretty daunting task.|
Andy Irons wasn't thanking anyone after his loss in the first round. He finished second to Kelly with local Heiarii Williams third. Andy was bitter over a barrel he felt he'd been underscored on and let the judges know with a an arsenal of creative gestures.
Three local wildcards made it through today -- Manoa Drollet, Tamaroa McComb and Heiarii Williams all lit up the local crowd with their performance. For most of the day the channel was silent but not during the locals heats, when it erupted in support. Local WCT surfer Michel Bourez also won his heat, so it was a good day for the locals. The one who won't see the next round is Taumata Puhetini, the winner of last week's (seems like last month's) Von Zipper/Air Tahiti Nui Trials.
Dane Reynolds, who was more bummed to send home his California buddy, Timmy Reyes, than he was happy to have won, seemed to advance with ease, while the Hobgoods put experience to work for them. Mick Fanning didn't let the wildcard get the best of him, and Blake Thorton posted his first ever heat win with a blistering barrel for a 9.0 and the highest heat total of the day at 15.50
|Slater's inner circle in the channel.|
At the start of the day, there were six out of the ten surfers in our house that were facing the ASP 'cut off'. Tonight none of the six are out of the contest, but our numbers are down to nine with Bobby's departure after his loss. If the event continues to charge through the heats like it did on Monday might the emotional roller coaster come off the rails on Tuesday?
Catch Billabong's live webcast here. Go time today could be at 12:30 P.M. East Coast time and 9:30 in California.BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 1 RESULTS: