Forecaster Blog: Billabong Pro Tahiti. What lies at The End of the Road

11 Aug 2015 3 Share

Issued Tuesday, August 11, 2015 By Swell Forecaster Matthew McKay

The highly anticipated Billabong Pro Tahiti contest is just days away. If you cast your mind back to last year, you would remember one of the greatest surfing heats of all time; where Kelly and John John went blow for blow, barrel for barrel at one of the world’s heaviest waves. The World Surfing League (WSL) has designated a waiting period of just 11 days which makes scoring pumping Teahupoo one tough ask; but hey, they sure nailed it last year.  Of course, going into this year’s event, everybody’s expectations are sky high, so what does the current forecast period entail? Will it consist of huge, death defying barrels or will this year offer a more level playing field for those who are less suited to those gnarly conditions?

There may not be draining west bowls on offer this year, but conditions will be perfectly contestable at the Billabong Pro Tahiti this year. Photo: Pat Stacey/ Billabong.

There may not be draining west bowls on offer this year, but conditions will be perfectly contestable at the Billabong Pro Tahiti this year. Photo: Pat Stacey/ Billabong.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you are, the current forecast for the Billabong Pro Tahiti looks nothing like last years.. The first sign of any significant swell will begin to fill in on the evening of Friday August 15. By Saturday morning a small to mid-sized SSW swell will be on offer. The close proximity of the low pressure system associated with this swell means that wave heights will be capped in the 4-5ft range. The fact that this swell source is just a stone’s throw away from the French Polynesian Island of Tahiti Iti means that it will be super consistent; a rarity for Teahupoo. The trade winds throughout Saturday will persist throughout the day from the ESE.

This swell is forecast to increase slightly over night and into Sunday; with consistent 4-6ft waves possible under ESE trade winds. Monday should see a gradual easing trend before being reinforced by a longer period SSW swell by the early afternoon; delivering waves in the 4-6ft range. More favourable, lighter easterly winds should coincide with this minor increase in energy. You can mark Tuesday and Wednesday down as lay days due to a lack of wave energy. The good news is that by Thursday morning, a fresh mid-period groundswell should be in the water. Initially wave heights will be in the fun 4 to 6ft range before easing throughout the day. Winds will once again from the ESE, making for some rippable conditions. Unfortunately the wind is expected to swing SSE by Friday and persist throughout the rest of the waiting period.  At this stage, these average winds will coincide with a relatively lack luster storm track; thus limiting the possibility for contestable waves throughout the latter parts of the waiting period.

The infamous, picturesque Teahupoo that we’ve all come to know and love won’t quite be itself this year. The southerly bias of the impending swell is expected to create those high-line barrels that we expected from areas like Indonesia and the Maldives. With fun conditions on offer, along with a jam packed leaderboard, we can expect some innovative and dynamic surfing throughout this year’s Billabong Pro. Let’s just hope a shark doesn’t decide the winner!


Tags: Teahupoo , Billabong Pro , World Surf League , WSL , Tahiti , End of the Road , topnews (create Alert from these tags)

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