29 August, 2019 29 August, 2019

The Chairman’s Report – Tahiti Pro

Owen Wright is the 2019 Tahiti Pro champion. He stopped the runaway train Gabriel ‘Machina’ Medina who flattened everyone in his path on the way to finals day. But it was the Ozzie giant who once again showed the world that he belongs in the title race conversation, not as a feel good story as to what it is he’s had to overcome to fight his way back into contention, but as one of the world’s best competitive components. 
I’ll leave the data crunching, mathematics and match ups at ‘The End Of The Road’. We know the results, let’s rather look at some of the emotional and personal gains and losses left in the wake of the 2019 Tahiti Pro. 

TEAHUPO’O, TAHITI – AUGUST 28: Owen Wright of Australia advances to the semi finals of the 2019 Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o after winning Quarter Final Heat 1 at Teahupo’o on August 28, 2019 in Tahiti, Franch Polynesia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Is Owen Wright Professor Xavier? 
In the X-Men franchise Professor Xavier uses Cerebro, a teched out helmet that connects him to other mutants, to find them and communicate with them.  
I doubt the helmet Owen wore throughout the event was packing any sci-fi tech that allowed him to communicate with the mutant waves that rolled through at Chopes but it certainly appeared that it was able to shut out any white noise, allowing him to focus on his opponent and communicate by sending and sharing critical data like, ‘I just scored a 9.17 under your priority, bitch’. 
Which is exactly what Wright did to Medina in the final to win the whole damn thing. All event it was Gabriel who turned the priority screws on his opponents, forcing them to make mistakes under his watch. To see Owen do it in the final with such predatory, ruthless efficiency against the ultimate cyborg mutant ‘Machina’ Medina was super hero stuff. But considering that Professor Xavier is a short bald man confined to a wheel chair, well that’s where the super hero comparison ends.
Helmet or no helmet, the 6’3″ long haired Wright is exactly where he belongs, a man unafraid of mutant waves and back in the world title hunt.

TEAHUPO’O, TAHITI – AUGUST 28: Jordy Smith of South Africa advances to the semi finals of the 2019 Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o after winning Quarter Final Heat 2 at Teahupo’o on August 28, 2019 in Tahiti, Franch Polynesia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Jordy Smith is just fine in big lefts thank you very much.
If controlling 8 to 10ft death pits at The End Of The road signifies your intentions to slam the door shut clean in the face of your critics, Jordy Smith didn’t just slam it shut, the hinges flew off and the whole damn frame came tumbling down. All event Smith pushed hard, knifing some terrifying drops and getting rewarded with big numbers against some worthy opponents. Smith has proven beyond doubt that any weaknesses he had in the heavy water lefts is long gone. You could see he was chasing waves down, never once letting the situation or moment over awe him. Clearly buying  the house in Hawaii has made waves like Chopes feel a little like his backyard.
If Jordy can keep up the momentum at the Wave Ranch and prepare well for the European leg, I think even he would admit that his work there needs some polishing, he could very well chase down his maiden world title at Pipeline and celebrate the win at his new home a few feet away.

TEAHUPO’O, TAHITI – AUGUST 27: Adriano de Souza of Brazil, Tahiti advances to Round 4 of the 2019 Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o after winning Heat 5 of Round 3 at Teahupo’o on August 24, 2019 in Tahiti, French Polynesia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

The Brazilian stock is up and down.
Filipe Toledo’s world title value went south and 2015 World Champion Adriano de Souza’s stock went north in a big way. The rest of the Brazilian market had mixed results. Like Toledo, Italo Ferreira’s world title charge needs a healthy return in Europe and considering that the Brazilian WSL surfing economy is the strongest in the world, I expect all of them to rally hard at the wave pool and in Europe. 
For me, the value of Adriano’s 9 point ride against Italo in Round 1 was immeasurable for putting his career back on track. That was the best surfed ‘pressure’ wave of the year. No doubt. Expect the Brazilian storm to hit back hard and throw some people around at the Wave Ranch.

TEAHUPO’O, TAHITI – AUGUST 27: Excellent surf for Round 3 and Round 4 of the 2019 Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o on August 27, 2019 in Tahiti, French Polynesia. (Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL via Getty Images)

Will Owen wear a helmet at the Wave Ranch? How about a return to form from the GOAT? Will Jordy take out the win? What are the chances of The Raconteurs playing a Blink 182 cover?
I’ll be there replacing my couch for a lilo, and as always, look forward to your company.
The Chairman.


  1. Rob Warre
    29 August, 2019 at 11:58 am · Reply

    Nicely out Chairman!

  2. Alex
    29 August, 2019 at 1:46 pm · Reply

    Owen Wright is a like a sci-fi samurai from a Dickens novel. If such a thing never existed, well now it does. He literally lifted the yellow jersey off Jordy in that semi-final then picked Medina’s pocket in the single fraction of a section he wasn’t watching and snaffled the whole damn thing. Daylight robbery followed by cunning stealth. Ninja ghost assassin catburglar vibes. I wouldn’t have him in my house if I were you. He’ll seduce your wife and steal the family silver while you thought he was busy stirring his tea.

  3. The Chairman
    29 August, 2019 at 2:50 pm · Reply

    Daylight robbery followed by cunning stealth. Ninja ghost assassin catburglar vibes.

    You’re onto something there Alex. Maybe the WSL would agree to get that printed on Owen’s singlet for the Wave Ranch?

    Yup he certainly stole more than a tea cup at Chopes did ol’ Owen.

  4. Andrzej
    30 August, 2019 at 12:23 am · Reply

    “Filipe Toledo’s world title value went south” ??????? Really strange conclusion. Filipe is now the world number one, has the gold jersey and is sitting pretty for the Wave pool.

  5. The Chairman
    30 August, 2019 at 9:40 am · Reply

    You make an excellent point Andrzej.

    I was referring to Filipe’s value in the bigger stuff hurting his world title hunt, but I didn’t make that clear. You’re spot on with Toledo being a real threat at the Wave pool.

  6. Mark
    30 August, 2019 at 10:21 am · Reply

    I think Owen showed what you have to do at Chopes… take off late under the hood, stand tall behind the curtain and get spat out in the channel. Those that were able to do that reaped the rewards and got through heats, well done to JS, Machina, Dr Xavier, Seth Moniz and I think the surprise addition to the chargers list would be “Hello” Ibelli! Of those that should have but never did hang your heads Kolohe, KS, JFlores, JW and RCal… The GOAT especially must have been spewing… I think his best opportunity to get a win this year just rolled by him via the Free Stone! Toledo ran from cover, but did come away with gold and is certainly no slouch in the wave pool nor any event in Europe… But with Machina on his heels and JS within striking distance I feel it’s a race to Pipe…

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