• Teahupo’o Delivers Perfection to Set Stage For Finals Day Tomorrow
• Big Barrels and Bigger Scores for World’s Best at Teahupo’o
• Event Winners To Be Decided Tomorrow
• More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com

Teahupo’o, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Thursday, August 18, 2022) –  The Outerknown Tahiti Pro, Stop No. 10 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), has seen an incredible day of competition with Teahupo’o turning on six-to-eight-foot surf with eight-foot-plus sets for the completion of men’s Opening Round, Elimination Round, and the Round of 16. With the Quarterfinalists locked in for men and women here in Tahiti, the race to the WSL Final 5 is all but set, with only one spot left in the women’s and all 5 men’s spots decided after the completion of competition today. 

Men’s WSL Final 5 Decided in Epic Waves at Teahupo’o
Today’s huge day of competition saw the completion of 21 heats, the Quarterfinalists locked in, and the WSL Final 5 men decided ahead of the upcoming Rip Curl WSL Finals. With his equal 9th place finish here in Tahiti, Jack Robinson (AUS) has locked the second spot in the WSL Final 5 with Filipe Toledo (BRA) clinching the top seed spot after falling out in the Elimination Round.

Current World No. 3 Ethan Ewing (AUS) has booked himself a spot in the WSL Final 5 with a Round of 16 finish here at the Outerknown Tahiti Pro. Ewing had a clutch win over Michel Bourez (BRA) in the Elimination Round, but was eventually beaten by trials winner Kauli Vaast (FRA) in his following heat. An equal 9th was enough for Ewing to clinch and his performance against two of the best at Teahupo’o was commendable. Vaast progressed into the Quarterfinals looking like the one to beat, posting a 17.07 (out of possible 20) two-wave total in Heat 1 of the Round of 16.

Heat 5 of the men’s Elimination Round saw two good friends in Jadson Andre (BRA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) go head-to-head in an all goofy match-up. It was a massive heat for former WSL World Champion Ferreira who is currently sitting in fourth on the rankings and needed to make the heat to clinch his spot in the WSL Final 5. It was a high scoring affair with the friends going wave-for-wave, each posting multiple excellent scores, but it was Andre who took the win with a 17.00 point two-wave total, one of the highest of the event so far. With the loss, Italo was left to rely on the fate of Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Callum Robson (AUS). With the two of them being ousted early he was able to hang onto his spot in the WSL Final 5 and will be off to Trestles for a shot at a second World Title this September. 

In a nail biting and emotional end to the day, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) clinched the last spot in the WSL Final 5 by taking the win over Andre in Heat 7 of the Round of 16. Coming to Tahiti as World No. 6, Igarashi needed a huge moment and he got it with a 9.70 in the dying minutes of the heat. This landmark win makes his dreams of a first shot at a World Title a reality. Along with his heat win today, Igarashi needed Griffin Colapinto (USA) to fall out of the draw early which he did in Heat 3 of the Round of 16 at the hands of Yago Dora (BRA). Colapinto will fall short of the title race, but after a breakthrough season in 2022 he’s certain to be knocking on the door of a World Tile in years to come. 

“I really don’t know what to say – this is super emotional to me –  I’m lost for words right now,” Igarashi said. “First of all I want to thank Teahupo’o – I’ve been coming here for so long and spending time with some of the locals and preparing myself for a moment like this, and when that wave came I knew if it was meant to be it was going to happen right there. Now, I’m into the top five and heading home.”

Big Barrels and Bigger Scores For World’s Best at Teahupo’o

In an unbelievable performance, South African CT sophomore Matt McGilivray (RSA, above), who surfed Teahupo’o for the first time yesterday, scored a perfect 10 point ride in Heat 2 of the Round of 16, with an incredible fins-free drop into a deep, square tube, disappearing from sight then getting spat out into the channel. His opponent Samuel Pupo (BRA), took the heat to the final buzzer, posting a heat total of 16.43, but McGillivray was able to find a 7.00 in the dying seconds to claim the heat win of his career and book himself a spot in the Quarterfinals. 

“I could feel the nerves all morning and right before I was going to paddle out,” said McGilivray . “All morning I have been feeling the adrenaline. To have these conditions in the contest is a dream come true and to surf it with only one other person out is amazing. You really have to be in the moment and calm yourself. It was cool to surf with Sammy (Pupo), he  has been charging in his heats so it’s cool to see everyone pushing it out there today. I’m stoked to be through the Quarterfinals here and can’t wait to get back out there.” 

The standout heat of the day was World No. 2 Robinson going up against event wildcard and former Tahiti Pro finalist Nathan Hedge (AUS) in Heat 5, Round of 16. Robinson, an event favorite, demonstrated his barrel riding skills, navigating the foam-ball with a high-line to score a 9.10, then backed it up for a heat total of 17.60, leaving Hedge in a combination situation (needing two new scores to take the lead). With less than 10 minutes left, the 43-year-old Hedge never gave up and found two hugely committed barrels to post a heat total of 18.30, the highest of the entire event, to overcome Robinson’s 17.60 total.

“At the start of that heat Jack (Robinson) really showed me what was up,” Hedge said. “He paddled behind me for one and the only person that has done that to me out here was Andy (Irons), and I was like, ‘he’s gnarly’ which was a fair bit to deal with mentally for me. I knew If I was to beat Jack (Robinson) I’d have to be on the biggest best waves. He kept improving his scores on every wave but I just kept patient and held onto the faith and eventually the right ones came to me. When I’m paddling into these waves I just remind myself that this is where I want to be and to stay super committed and that quietens down the noise a bit and I can focus on getting pitted.” 

Hedge will face off against Caio Ibelli (BRA) who was a huge standout in the Round of 16 and Opening Round. Ibelli took down an in-form Jordy Smith (RSA) to lock in a matchup with old friend Hedge in Quarterfinal Heat 3. 

Five-time Tahiti Pro winner Kelly Slater (USA, above) is into Quarterfinals after a close heat against an in-form Connor O’Leary (AUS). Slater opened the heat with back-to-back waves scoring in the excellent range for a two-wave total of 17.00 . O’Leary answered back with two excellent scores of his own but it wasn’t enough to overtake Slater, who will now take on Yago Dora (BRA) in Quarterfinal Heat 2 as he looks for his sixth victory at Teahupo’o.

The 2022 Outerknown Tahiti Pro looks to conclude tomorrow with the men’s and women’s event winners being crowned by the end of the day. Be sure to tune in as a call is made at 6:45 a.m. TAHT for a possible 7:05 a.m. start to competition.

Outerknown Tahiti Pro Men’s Opening Round Results:
HEAT 1: Yago Dora (BRA) 8.66 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.14, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 5.10
HEAT 2: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 13.60 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 10.93, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 2.33
HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 16.26 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 7.33, Michel Bourez (FRA) 6.70
HEAT 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.00 DEF. Nathan Hedge (AUS) 8.67, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 1.87
HEAT 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.94 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.86, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 8.33
HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.50 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 7.76, Jackson Baker (AUS) 3.17
HEAT 7: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 10.44, Seth Moniz (HAW) 6.53
HEAT 8: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 15.63 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.27, Jake Marshall (USA) 6.60

Outerknown Tahiti Pro Men’s Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 17.07 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.17
HEAT 2: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 17.00 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 16.43
HEAT 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.94 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.63
HEAT 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.00 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 16.83
HEAT 5: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 18.30 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 17.60
HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.97 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.20
HEAT 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.70 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.40
HEAT 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.00 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 2.40

Outerknown Tahiti Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Kauli Vaast (FRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
HEAT 2: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
HEAT 3: Nathan Hedge (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Outerknown Tahiti Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Vahine Fierro (FRA)
HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.