Here's the latest regarding the upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti (August 11):
Kelly Slater - OUT
This is just a formality, as even mainstream news outlets have been reporting Slater's foot injury since he pulled into a close-out during the J-Bay contest. If this is news to you, then you've been avoiding surf media for a while.
Anyway, Kelly will be lucky to make Pipe at the end of the season, thus deflating his 'one last shot' at a title AND putting the brakes on his Continuance series. On the bright side, it hands a massive opportunity to...
Nat Young - IN as an injury replacement
Nat hasn't had a massive break-out result amongst his 5 'replacement wildcard' events this year (he missed J-Bay), but he's had three 13ths and two 25ths, placing him below Jaddy (but above Kerr) at 34th for the year.
Now that Nat knows that he's guaranteed to get a serious shot at requalification for the remainder of the year, will we see improved focus and confidence?
He'll be dirt cheap at $1.5M all year on FS though...
Trials Winner- Aritz Aranburu
The Basque barrel master earned his place in the main draw by narrowly defeating former CT and QS veteran Nathan Hedge. Aritz made the semis at the Volcom Pipe Pro this year and is a constant threat when the waves are hollow.
Local Wildcard - Taumata Puhetini
With a respectable 3rd place finish at today's trials, Taumata takes a spot in H6 of the main event. Can he break the local wildcard hoodoo?
Here is the final draw with all seeds sorted: