Teahupoo: Kingy Wins

Source: www.ibaworldtour.com

posted by Mark Fordham on 6th June 2003

The third round of the Human Teahupoo Challenge - Waves for the first two heats varied 4 -6ft range. Waves started off consistent though slowing down by the end of heat two. Jeff Hubbard and Sean Virtue seemed to find a few ramps busting some huge airtime. Round 3 saw Ryan Hardy withdraw from his heat due to yesterday’s ankle injury. The swell jump in size with 8 – 10ft sets. Kainoa Mc Gee was on a mission, again drop kneeing some huge barrels. Each time the big Hawaiian exited a deep tube the crowd from the water roared, cheering Mc Gee to take of deeper. Tahitian Nicola Richard pulled into some of the biggest barrels of the morning, scoring a number of 8.5 and 9.0 in his heat. Australia’s Andrew Lester also seemed to be scoring the bomb sets as well, again showing a great display of tube riding with perfectly executed Rollos out of two huge sets, also scoring highly amongst the judges. Heat 4 saw the biggest waves of the round so far, the swell had swung more West exposing the infamous West bowl. Waves started to jack up fast and hard on the take off point reeling heavily past the scores of boats and spectators and unleashing onto the barely covered inside reef. Waves on a number of occasions threaten to clean up the judges’ boat that was hovering around the closing out section as to catch and score all the action from start to finish. Hawaiian Mike Stewart opened the heat up with a solid 8-10ft barrel. On take off Stewart free fell and bottomed turn into a perfect line. Riding deep in the barrel and exiting cleanly, perfect 10’s were awarded from all the judges. Simon Thornton also pulled into some high scoring deep barrels, using his local knowledge for the best ones. The swell was staring to pulse; the set waves were coming in with a display of awesome raw power.

With 18 minutes into the round Brazilian Guilherme Tamega took off on a huge set, back dooring a perfect Teahupoo West bowl and making the tube. As he exited the barrel at great speed he set up for a huge roll right on the inside. After busting through the lip and projecting outwards he landed awkwardly and got worked. Tamega was washed across the reef and followed by the Tahitian water patrol. After examination by Vetea David in the lagoon situated behind the break the event was put on hold until they got Tamega to some stable water. Tamega hit the reef so hard that he had a huge 5 cm gash below his knee cap across the side of his leg. He taken to the Teahupoo boat marina by the Tahitian Water patrol and transferred to Papeete Hospital to be operated on to remove the coral from within the cut, to be stitched up and to undergo X-rays to make sure that there is no knee cap / ligament damage.

As the swell started to push in more from the West, with the event still on hold, Stewart was pulling into perfect 10ft tubes, Nicolas Capdeville withdrew from the heat leaving both Stewart and Thornton the battle it out. When Vetea David returned from the marina, an emergency meeting was held between contest officials and the Tahitian water patrol team. After examining the situation, putting into account of the rising west swell and the threat of more serious injuries the event was cancelled on the advice from the Tahitian Water Patrol due to safety concerns.

As a result of this the bodyboarder leading the points at the end of the second round was deemed the winner, being Australian Damian King. Kingy was showered with beer on an adjoining boat. He jumped over board and let out an almighty roar. This was a huge win for the King At the presentation King dedicated his win to his mother, who passed away earlier in the year.



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5th May 2003

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