The world’s best surfers have arrived at the world-famous reef pass of Teahupo’o for Stop No. 7 of 11 on the World Surf League 2019 Mens Championship, the window of competition kicks off tomorrow and runs until September 1 for the Tahiti Pro presented by Hurley.
Held at one of the most critical and challenging waves on the planet in Teahupo’o and at one of the most critical points in the season, the Tahiti Pro pres. by Hurley will play a major role in both the 2019 WSL Men’s Title Race as well as the requalification battle for the 2020 Championship Tour.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), reigning two-time WSL Champion and defending Tahiti Pro winner, is currently ranked No. 7 on the 2019 WSL CT Rankings recovering from a first-quarter slump of poor results at Keramas and Margaret River with a win at the most recent event at Jeffreys Bay.
“I love Tahiti and feel like it’s one of my strongest events,” Medina said. “Slow start to the season, but I think there is a lot of opportunity left before the year is finished. J-Bay was great. The goal is to win every event, every year, so this one is no different. I’ve been here for a week and had some great surf already. Looking forward to the event and hopefully we get some great surf.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Champion and current WSL No. 8, secured his most recent Championship Tour win in 2016 at Teahupo’o, and the most iconic surfer of all time places the venue as one of his strongest of the season.
“For sure Tahiti is more in my wheelhouse than many other events,” Slater said. “I do have a lot of confidence there, but that doesn’t detract from needing to get out there and figure out the lineup and take note of how your competitors are looking and getting yourself on the good waves. The confidence goes up for sure though and I focus a lot more on my performance and what I can control than my competition.”
Pro Surfers Team Up with Coral Gardners to Restore Nearby Reefs
For the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, WSL collaborated with ‘Glowing Glowing Gone’, a global campaign advocating for greater funding and action for coral reef conservation by highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing corals. The collaboration features a complete takeover of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley event branding to incorporate the exact colors of fluorescing corals, in addition to WSL’s support of Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area.
Today, Michel Bourez, Lea Brassy, Matahi Drollet, and Koa Smith teamed up with the Coral Gardeners to plant dozens of units of coral at the Coral Gardeners center on Moorea. The baby coral was planted into an underwater frame where they will mature for 20-24 months before being transplanted onto degraded areas of the reef. When these coral fragments grow, they help to recreate reef habitats, which allows other life to return and strengthens the reef against future damage.
“It’s so cool to work with WSL PURE, Glowing Glowing Gone and the Coral Gardeners on the planting endeavor here at home in Tahiti,” Bourez said. “The solutions to make positive change can be very simple sometimes and they make a major impact. It was a great day in Moorea with Coral Gardeners and the teams and I’m looking forward to representing Glowing Glowing Gone on my Tahiti Pro jersey at this event.”
The experience included the coral planting, along with an educational discussion around the importance of coral health to ocean health and solutions for improving the ecosystem. To learn more about how to get involved with Glowing Glowing Gone and the Coral Gardeners, please visit WSLPURE.org.