Header image by The Last Minute
The seventh stop on the Men’s Surfing Championship Tour 2018 is upon us! This year’s Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o runs from 7:00am Aug 10 - 7:00pm Aug 21, and we’ve got everything you need to know below—suffice it to say, many of the world’s best are stoked to get barreled!
The break at Teahupo’o is no freaking joke. The venue—which means “Wall of Skulls,” translated—is one of the most feared and revered on the tour or anywhere on our lil blue orb. A village on the southeast coast of the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia, this is the veritable end of the line. After all, once you hit Teahupo’o, there’s really nowhere else to go—in fact, most WSL staff and surfers bunk with local families, relying on their hospitality and food in order to make the stay palatable.
Teahupo’o is a left-breaking reef break with an outer reach that also produces right breaks. A “must” for any pro surfer, it’s a legendary venue due to its wickedly shallow coral reef (up to 20 inches below the surface) offering hollow waves and a high difficulty level. The barrels here are righteously famous and, in August 2000, Laird Hamilton was even credited with riding the “heaviest wave” ever, as documented in Riding Giants (2004).
Aussie surfing great Julian Wilson is your defending 2017 Teahupo’o champ but he should have his hands full with 24-year-old Brazilian and 2014 WSL World Champion, Gabriel Medina.
Why, you ask? Well, aside from Medina’s career accomplishments, the two had a fiery contest in last year’s Teahupo’o final that resulted in what called the greatest heat of the year. Adding further intrigue is the fact that Wilson and Medina are the current world #2 and #3 in the WSL standings, respectively—the stakes are high!
And then there’s Filipe Toledo currently standing alone atop the WSL standings for the year with greater than 35,000 accumulated points to Wilson’s approx. 31,000 and Medina’s 25,000. Toledo’s past performances in Tahiti haven’t lived up to the other two men’s, however, providing ample opportunity for Wilson or Medina to catch up in the rankings—or perhaps some other tenacious, unforeseen surfer.
The big news in the lead-up to Teahupo’o Pro 2018, of course, is that Kelly Slater has withdrawn from the event due to an ongoing foot injury. 9th-ranked Mikey Wright from Australia is taking his place.
Here’s a snapshot of the current WSL Top 10:
And now, witness some of the best rides ever captured on video from Teahupo’o Pro Tahiti ahead of the contest’s start tomorrow!