Triumph and tragedy at Teahupoo Trials - photos
Six to eight foot barrels exploded onto razor sharp reef for the Teahupoo Trials yesterday. 32 tube riding specialists were put to the test, as Tuamata Puhetini and Nathan Hedge finished 1st and 2nd respectively to win wildcards into the prestigious Billabong Pro Tahiti.
But with the reward came the risk — Kevin Bourez, younger brother of Michel Bourez, suffered an horrific wipeout, going head first into the reef. The doctor informed event organisers that Kevin is in a stable condition, following four hours of surgery from multiple head fractures as well as deep facial lacerations. He’s being monitored closely and more information about his injury and recovery will be available in the next 24 hours. Despite leaving the event in an ambulance, Kevin won the heat and was one of the favourites to win the Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Pro Trials.
Tuamata Puhetini was ecstatic after his big win, repeating his heroics that saw him win the Trials in 2010. Puhetini was eliminated by Mick Fanning in Round 2 last time he was in the Billabong Pro Tahiti, but on current form he’ll push the Top 34 to their limits this time around. Puhetini used precision and poise to catch solid sets and thread deep tubes to tear through the tough field of competitors and secure the coveted Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Pro Trials win.
“The surf was fantastic today!” Puhetini said. “I can’t believe I won it again, everyone was surfing very well. I won the Trials in 2010 and it was a great experience, and I’m really looking forward to taking on the best guys out there in the Billabong Pro.”