The world’s best surfers will converge upon the South Pacific islands of French Polynesia this week for the Tahiti Pro at Teahupo’o.
Filipe Toledo (BRA), current WSL Jeep Frontrunner, holds a narrow lead over challengers like defending Tahiti Pro winner and current world No. 2 Julian Wilson (AUS) and 2014 WSL Champion and last year’s event runner-up Gabriel Medina (BRA).
This season’s battle for the undisputed world surfing crown has been hotly contested with Toledo claiming wins in Rio de Janeiro and Jeffreys Bay.
Tahiti has historically been a challenging event for the current frontrunner, but the young Brazilian has been training at the location for the past two weeks in advance of this week’s event.
John John Florence (HAW), reigning two-time WSL Champion, remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Bali earlier this year. Miguel Pupo (BRA) has taken Florence’s position in the event.
Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Champion, has withdrawn from Tahiti Pro competition.
Sidelined with a foot injury sustained in Jeffreys Bay last season, the icon has been struggling to rehabilitate himself to compete amongst the world’s elite once again.
Slater donned the singlet in the specialty teams event, the Founders’ Cup of Surfing, at the WSL Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California in May and attempted a return at the Corona JBay Open last month, but has admitted to not feeling ready for Tahiti.
Mikey Wright (AUS) has accepted a spot as Slater’s replacement.
Mateia Hiquily (PYF) bested Tikanui Smith (PYF) in the Tahiti Trials Final and both surfers have earned wildcards into the main Championship Tour event.
Surfline, official forecaster for the Tahiti Pro, are calling for:
Solid, mid period SSW-South swell (200-180°) will rapidly build in late today and peak on Tuesday with well overhead surf across the better exposures.
Standout reefs will see double overhead+ sets, and with occasional triple overhead+ waves rolling in at select magnets.
This energy will then back down Tuesday through mid-week (and fairly quickly), dropping to waist high or less by Friday.