The Tahiti Pro at Teahupoo will enjoy its 20th year on tour this year, as the event joined the tour in 1999. Before Kelly Slater started dominating this event, Mark Occhilupo won here in 99’ ahead of American CJ Hopgood. Kelly Slater has taken this event out five times since 2000 when he won his first against Shane Dorian.
It's been a great build up to the 2019 Tahiti Pro with huge swells hitting the shores late last week while the trails were underway. The 2019 Tahiti Pro trials was taking out by 17 year Tahitian Kauai Vaast. Vaast will get his chance on the pro tour this week and will be in heat four against Italo Ferreira and Sebastian Zietz.
Gabriel Medina took out the 2018 Tahiti Pro in a close battle against Owen Wright. Medina will once again be the man to beat as he clearly has the best record at this event in the past five years with two wins and two runners up. More importantly he will be riding to claim his third victory at Teahupoo. Only one man has that record and that's Kelly Slater.
With John John Florence out for the rest of the year, Kolohe Andino is on top of the leaderboard only just ahead of Filipe Toledo. Andino has been the most consistent surfer this year without taking out an event. Andino has made the finals in every event minus The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. Teahupoo has been friendly to Andino, he has made the finals in the past three straight years, without making it into the actual final.
The rankings didn't seem to shift to much after the J-Bay contest. The biggest mover was Owen Wright who finally found some form with a quarter final finish. Wright shifted five positions into 12th and now can set his eyes on getting inside that top 10 in the overall standings. The best of the Aussies Ryan Callihan who is in ninth position after finishing ninth at J-Bay. The top ten finish at J-Bay was crucial because it gave him back confidence after finishing 17th in Rio. He meets Willian Cardoso and Ricardo Christie in heat one. Julian Wilson is just behind Callahan in tenth. You would say this contest is a huge one for Wilson almost make or break for 2019. Wilson hasn't enjoyed too much success this year and has had a wobbly first half of the year. Wilson won Teahupoo in 2017, so we may just see him work his way towards the finals.
After four straight top ten finishes at the start of the year Conner Coffin has struggled to get past the round of 32 in the previous two contests in Rio and J-Bay. Coffin has potential to sustain consistency and will need a solid finish in Teahupoo to really give himself a crack inside the top ten. He has a good chance to head straight to round three but won't be that smooth when he meets Jack Freestone and Seth Moniz in heat 12.
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