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Surfers competing in the Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials, the precursor to event number 5 on the ASP Menu2;019s World Tour, the Billabong Pro, Tahiti, have been blessed with the ultimate warm-up at the legendary Tahitian break, u2;01CTeahupou2;019ou2;01D today.
Waves in the eight-to-10-foot range (3.5 metres) broke throughout the day allowing dozens of international arrivals to practise ahead of tomorrowu2;019s Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials. Organisers are confident the first heat of the prestigious 64-man invitational will begin in similar conditions at 8:00am Monday 16th August.
Thirty-two internationals including surfers from Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, USA, South Africa, Brazil and Peru have flown in to compete at Teahupou2;019o and will fight it out against an additional 32 local invitees for just two wildcard spots into the Billabong Pro, Tahiti main event.
Last minute changes to the trials draw sees the inclusion of Nathan Fletcher (USA), Dylan Longbottom, Michael Hopkins (AUS), Makua Rothman, TJ Barron (HAW) and Fergal Smith (IRE).
Local hero Manoa Drollet, a two-time Air Tahiti Nui trials winner, is the recipient of the third Billabong Pro wildcard and has already been allocated a main event seed where he will face off in the first round against the likes of either world-rated #1 Jordy Smith (ZAF), world rated #2 Taj Burrow (AUS) or world rated #3 Kelly Slater (USA).
Competition is fierce with all invitees regarded as fearless tube riders and lovers of big-waves.
The Billabong Pro, Tahiti is unlike any other event on the ASP Menu2;019s World Tour. Spectators are afforded an unrivalled view from the deep channel that runs beside the intense, shallow reef break and on big days surfers are known to skim through the cheering crowds, water still dripping from them following incredible tube rides.