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Jamie O’Brien Rides Perfect 10 into Billabong Pro

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

jaime o’brien teahupooBy pulling off a dramatic perfect 10 point ride in the closing seconds of the final heat at the Air Tahiti Nui – Von Zipper Trials, Jamie O’Brien earned a spot in the main event of next weeks Billabong Pro. Make no doubt about it, O’Brien is the trialist that no one on the WCT is looking forward to matching up against, especially if swell charts stay true and Teahupoo keeps pumping out monster barrels the way it has been as of late.

His dramatic victory over Brazilian Bruno Santos was the stuff legends are made of and even O’Brien had to admit it was a bit ‘Slater-esque.’ “I’ve never came from behind the eight ball like that in the last minute,” said O’Brien. “I figured it’s the kind of stuff Kelly does, so I thought I would give it a try.”

O’Brien, the 2006 Pipeline Masters Champion and in my eyes one of the top all-around surfers in the world, has been taking a break from being on tour full-time to focus more on just surfing progressively. While doing so, he has pulled off impressive victories in several big contests, the likes of which include this years Da Hui Backdoor Shootout as well as Billabong’s inaugural Freewave Challenge.

A typical trialist might be intimidated knowing he will be opening up action in the main event against Pancho Sullivan and reigning world-champion Mick Fanning. Jamie O’Brien is anything but your typical trialist and he has let it be known that he’s coming after those guys – “I’m not worried about it, barrel riding is what I do, I travel the world so I can go and surf barrels. I’m down for the main event, I’ll take them down.”

Looks like the WCT regulars have officially been put on notice- Jamie O’Brien is coming for you.

Jaime Obrienteahupoo

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2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti Right Around the Corner

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

2008 billabong pro tahitiWhen you’re a wave like Teahupoo, you don’t really need any hype thrown your way. With that being said, I’m throwing hype anyway. We’re just about two weeks out from the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti. And if the swell trends continue this could possibly be one of the all-time events at the bone-crushing left.

Teahupoo has made quite a name for itself in not much more than a decades time. The break that was once thought to be unsurfable, will be on display for it’s 10th WCT event From May 8-18 and as we covered previously, it has taken it upon itself to remind all surfers that it’s right around the corner with its thrashing of last years champ Damien Hobgood.

Those hoping to catch Kelly Slater in the ‘CT standings know how crucial it is do well at this event. If Slater locks this up, or even finishes in the top 5, his 9th world championship may be all but locked up. Mick Fanning knows this and is once again arriving early to get some practice time in. “Kelly had an amazing start and I had a lot of things happening,” Fanning said. “Really good things, but I have finally had some time to myself and I feel really excited about competing again. I’m looking forward to Tahiti. It is always a great event.”

Yep, we’re only two weeks away from the 2008 Billabong Pro Tahiti….

Past Billabong Pro Tahiti Champions:
2007: Damien Hobgood (USA)
2006: Bobby Martinez (USA)
2005: Kelly Slater (USA)
2004: CJ Hobgood (USA)
2003: Kelly Slater (USA)
2002: Andy Irons (HAW)
2001: Cory Lopez (USA)
2000: Kelly Slater (USA)
1999: Mark Occhilupo (AUS)

teahupoobillabongwctasp world tour

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Damien Hobgood Injured at Teahupoo

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

damien hobgood teahupooLooks like Teahupoo strikes again, and this time it laid a licking on one of the Dream Tour’s finest.

According to Transworld SURF’s Senior Photographer, Tim Jones, Damien Hobgood got sucked backwards over the falls on an eight-footer at Teahupoo. Apparently someone had called him off the wave, so Hobgood pulled back, but still got slammed onto the reef. Though he is in stable condition, he did sustain a serious concussion, along with a chewed up shoulder and back. Initial guesses have him out of the water at least six-eight weeks.

This will more than likely keep him out of next months Billabong Pro, which of course will be held at ‘Chopes. This is doubly sad considering he won the event last year and we’d all love to see him defend his title. After taking a pounding like that at a break that is as heavy and deadly as any in the world, I’m guessing that is the least of Damien’s concerns right now. The fact that more guys aren’t laid up by this Tahitian fire-breather is a testament to the talent and skill possessed by those who are constantly charging such an unbelievable wave.

We wish Damien Hobgood all the best and look forward to seeing him back in the water once he is recovered.

damien hobgood teahupoo

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Shane Dorian, Teahupoo Shine at Billabong XXL

Monday, April 14th, 2008

shane dorian billabong xxl big waveThe epic swell that set off an all-time Teahupoo on November 1 of last year ended up providing more than just breathtaking waves and jaw-dropping images. Following the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, it also sent surfers Shane Dorian and Manoa Drollet, as well as photographers Gustavo Camarao and Jeff Flindt home with much deserved awards that altogether totaled $62,000.

The Big Island native and big-wave pioneer Dorian took home the highest honor of the evening when he was awarded Ride of the Year. He somehow pulled into a section of Teahupoo that few live to tell and was spit out into a full cart-wheel. It was an unbelievable ride, and one that sent one of surfing’s legends and all-around good guys home $50,000 richer.

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