Billabong Pro, Tahiti - Main Event Wildcards Decided
The final two wildcard positions in event #5 on the Association of Surfing Professionals Men's World Tour, the Billabong Pro, have been decided with Ricardo Dos Santos, 22, (BRA) and local Alain Riou, 29, (PYF) finishing first and second respectively in the Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials which culminated today in clean two metre waves at the South Pacific reef pass of Teahupo'o.
The pair finished ahead of 30 other international invitees to claim the coveted wildcard spots in the event that is considered the most prestigious of its kind on the annual pro surfing calendar.
Santos, trailed Riou for the majority of the 25-minute decider, but managed the day's only perfect scoring ride with just minutes to spare. Santos earned a perfect 10-point ride from the judges for a long tube, leapt to the lead, and in doing so became the only surfer in the trials' 12-year history to claim back-to-back trials victories.
Just the winner and highest placed local are awarded wildcard spots into the Billabong Pro main event and now Santos and Riou will draw the tournament's highest seeds, namely world number two, Joel Parkinson (AUS) and defending Billabong Pro champion, Kelly Slater (USA).
The current forecast calls for similar conditions later in the week, with the main event expected to start as early as Thursday. All the action can be seen live on www.billabongpro.com.
The Air Tahiti Nui Vonzipper Trials was made possible with the support of the Government of French Polynesia, Sports Minister, Institute of Sports, Sports Department, Tahiti Tourism, Air Tahiti Nui, Coca Cola, OPT, Mana, Hyundai, Hertz, Polynesie 1ère, La Depeche, NRJ, City Hall of Taiarapu ouest and the City Hall of Teahupo'o,
Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials
1st Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA) $1500 plus main event wildcard
2nd Alain Riou (PYF) $1000 plus main event wildcard
=3rd Tuamata Puhetini (PFY) & Bruno Santos (BRA) $600.
Champions - Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials
2012 Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA)
2011 Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA)
2010 Tuamata Puhetini (PFY)
2009 Heiarii Williams (PFY)
2008 Jamie O'Brien (HAW)
2007 Manoa Drollet (PFY)
2006 Heiarii Williams (PFY)
2005 Manoa Drollet (PFY)
2004 Heimata Carroll (PFY)
2003 Alain Riou (PFY)
2002 Vetea David (PFY)
2001 Bruce Irons (HAW)
BILLABONG PRO - OPENING CEREMONY
The official opening ceremony for the Billabong Pro main event will take place on the point (beyond the end of the road, across the bridge) from 2pm on Wednesday, 15th August.