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Tue, 14 August 2018

Oh no, not again! Mikey February and Jordy Smith have fought through the tricky Round 2 of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o elimination round only to face each other in Round 3 ... again!

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NAIL IN COFFIN: Mikey Feb managed to eke out the win against Conner. Photo WSL / Poullenot

The waves were shifty 3-5' with a less than exciting forecast coming up as the remaining nine heats of Round 2 were completed. Mikey, who sits at #31 in the rankings and has struggled for form this season, earned the win in the dying moments over California’s Conner Coffin (USA).

“It’s the worst thing needing a 2.40 when there’s only three minutes left,” February said. “It’s the last thing you want is to need a score like that. I had a heat with Julian (Wilson) in the beginning of the year when I needed a 3.20 and got a 3 so that was in the back in of my mind. I’m just happy to make it. It’s been a tricky year so I’ll take the Round 3 berth for sure.”

It's a confounding thing when only two Saffas are on tour and of the seven stops on the WSL CT, two of the events sees them forced to face each other in Round 3.

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SENSATIONAL SEASON: Mikey Wright looks easily set for Rookie of the Year. Photo WSL / Poullenot

Owen Wright (AUS), perennial threat in lefthand reef passes and current #11, was commanding in his Round 2 win over Joan Duru (FRA): “It’s a shame the forecast isn’t really delivering for this year’s event but we all have to deal with the same conditions,” Wright said. “Even at this size, you can still find fun ones out at Teahupo’o. It’s great being here with my family and having my brother Mikey stay with us for the event. He’s been on a tear this season.”

'He’s been on a tear this season'Mikey Wright (AUS), brother of Owen and reigning two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS), has had a blockbuster season in 2018. Earning a berth into the season-opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Wright mowed through the top seeds to finish 9th before collecting a 13th in Rio, back-to-back thirds at Keramas and Uluwatu and another 13th in Jeffreys Bay all via wildcards and replacement spots.

For a surfer who didn’t start the season as a full-fledged CT competitor, the younger Wright finds himself 9th on the Jeep Leaderboard standings and comfortable in mixing it up with the world’s best. Today, Wright eliminated replacement surfer Miguel Pupo (BRA) to keep his run on the CT going.

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RARE BREED: Brazilian Ian Gouveia finds a hard-to-find tube. Photo WSL / Poullenot

“It was a bit of a scrappy start this morning, but I ended up turning it around,” Wright said. “I just sat and waited for one, and the one that I got gave me a few turns. It’s like running on thin ice on the inside - I was dry docking pretty much. It’s fun out there. I got a couple scratches from the inside on that one but nothing much. Happy to get another crack at it in Round 3.”

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), fresh off his recent win at the Vans US Open of Surfing QS10,000, kept the momentum going this morning at Teahupo’o, besting dangerous goofy-footer Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in Round 2 of competition.

“I walked up to that heat 10 - 15 mins before it started,” Igarashi said. “I didn’t want to be here too early and see too many waves. When I got here the wind was onshore and guys were doing turns so I just told myself I’d be doing turns and took out a different board. I didn’t even think about getting barreled. It’s a lot different than what we normally surf out here but either way, it’s better than a lot of waves we’ve been surfing.”

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COMEBACK KID? Mikey February survived a close call in Round 2. Photo WSL / Poullenot

Igarashi will battle 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) in Round 3 when competition recommences. Yago Dora (BRA), 2018 WSL CT rookie, capped the round off with the high score of the day, a 14.57 (out of a possible 20 points) with an impressive forehand display of aerial mastery and performance surfing.

Surfline, official forecaster for the Tahiti Pro, are calling for: The current South swell will back down Tuesday into mid-week. Then a new but modest SW swell builds in Wednesday and tops out Thursday. When competition resumes, Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o action will be broadcast LIVE on www.WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL’s Facebook page.

Tahiti Pro Remaining Round 2 Results
Heat 4: Mikey Wright (AUS) 10.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.33
Heat 5: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.27 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.06
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.27 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 6.00
Heat 7: Michael February (ZAF) 7.67 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 7.60
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.90 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.37
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.37
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.90 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.70
Heat 11: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.03 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.70
Heat 12: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.57 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 7.83

Tahiti Pro Round 3 Matchups
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Tikanui Smith (PYF)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA)

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