Early Rounds of #SapinusPro Tahiti, Stop 2 of 2015 Standup World Tour
Swells Surge, Polynesians Prevail And Lenny Loses In Early Rounds of Sapinus Pro
Tahiti is paradise, particularly for those with a board and a paddle. It’s got everything a SUP man or woman could ask for—warm, tropical water, phenomenal downwind runs, open-ocean swell and enough pristine reef passes to keep even the most gung-ho wave-hunter entertained for eons. It’s a perfectly suitable locale for a stop on the Standup World Tour, and now, with the 2015 season opener at the Sunset Beach Pro fading from our rear views, the second stop on this year’s tour—the Sapinus Pro—finds the world’s elite SUP surfers in paradise yet again. Man, these guys sure have it rough…
Competition kicked off Saturday in perfectly groomed, double-overhead surf, providing contenders a picturesque playing field for the Air Tahiti Nui Trials on Day 1. To no one’s surprise, the Polynesian’s prevailed as a blend of Hawaiian, Tahitian and Kiwi competitors channeled their island roots into competitive prowess. The top four finishers in Trials take the high road to the Main Event, while the remaining contenders are relegated to surf again in the repecharge rounds (poor guys gotta surf perfect waves again).
Among the Polynesians, one Hawaiian tube miner—Keali’i Mamala—reigned supreme. Mamala’s victory in trials earned him a free pass to Round 1, Heat 1 of the main event, where he’s set to compete against fellow Big Island native, Bullet Obra and current World No. 4 SUP surfer, the Tahitian favorite Poenaiki Raioha. Other top trialsists—Tahiti’s Atamu Conti (2nd), New Zealand’s Daniel Kereopa (3rd) and Hawaii’s Tehotu Wong (4th)—also advanced to the main event without entertaining the repo rounds.
The biggest shocker of the event thus far arrived in the form of an early exit by 6X World Champion, Maui’s Kai Lenny. After championing the season opener at Sunset Beach back in March, however, Lenny has no need for concern in the overall title race. He’s solidly stationed among the heads of the pack.
Unlike the Sunset Beach Pro, the #SapinusPro is unavailable for viewing via live webcast (apparently it’s not easy to stream live webcasts from a remote rock in the middle of the Southern Pacific). But there are plenty of ways to keep up on the live action. The following list includes recommendations from the Waterman League—the sanctioning organization behind the Standup World Tour—for how to stay dialed on the Sapinus Pro.
How to follow the #SapinusPro:
1. Twitter: @SUPWorldTour – Live Blog – Every heat, every ride, all the drama as it happens.
2. Instagram: @StandUpWorldTour – Video — Heat recaps, ‘best wave’ videos, behind the scenes interviews.
3. Facebook: facebook.com/standupworldtour — Scores from every heat, video and photo highlights.
4. YouTube: The Waterman League – Pre Event Show / Daily Highlights Show featuring special guests.
5. Website: www.watermanleague.com – Live Blog – Every heat, every ride, all the drama as it happens as well as all the very best pictures and videos.
Of course, we highly recommend checking back with SUPthemag.com for details, photos, exclusive interviews, analysis, post-event coverage…the whole sha-bang! Vicarious digital paradise—it’s SUP’s gift to you, our loyal readers.
What happened last time in the World Tour hit Tahiti?