Current | Daily Dawn | Here & There  
23.04.04 - PARKO WEEK CONTINUES - Passing the good fortune down the line.
21.04.04 - SPRINGING STRAIGHT BACK IN CALIFORNIA - Barely home from Bells, some of the American WCT crew are back in contest singlets again this weekend
20.04.04 - PARKO SIGNS FOR FIVE - Parko signs up for five years in a multi-million dollar deal with Billabong.
19.04.04 - WATCHING FROM AFAR - The pain of being on the sideline.


25.04.04 - CARRYING EURO HOPES TO TEAHUPOO - Portugal’s Tiago Pires is keen for the Tahiti trials, and the WQS season ahead.
Ex sarge, Gold Coast, Sunday April 25th, 2004.

Tiago PiresAs the ASP’s Top 45 WCT surfers attempt to retain calm and focus in preparing for the approaching showdown in Tahiti at the Billabong Pro Teahupoo beginning on May 6th, surfers from around the globe start arriving in the tropical paradise this week for the Air Tahiti Nui Von Zipper trials which start next Sunday. Virtually an event in themselves, the trials pit 48 surfers against each other in the terrifying jaws of that beast of all waves, for the right to make the main event. Twenty-four year old Portuguese surfer Tiago Pires is one of those willing and aspiring combatants.
Tiago PiresExtending his stay after contesting the Australian WQS leg of the tour, Tiago flew out of Sydney this morning, bound for Papette. No stranger to big waves, the young wave warrior will perhaps be best remembered to date for his stunning second placing in the Rip Curl Cup at Sunset in 2000, a supreme achievement in his first full year on the qualifying tour. After spending every winter on the North Shore since he was 16, and having progressively pushed the limits every year, the stylish natural footer is feeling comfortable about next weekend’s challenge. Though he has only surfed Teahupoo once before, in 2002, which saw him take on some solid 12’+ conditions, he heads to Tahiti unperturbed.
Tiago Pires“I’m looking forward to the trials, and the experience, because I know I can do good on that wave”, declared Pires before flying out. “I know I have a long way to go, but I feel comfortable on big waves. I’m going for good big barrels in Teahupoo!”
Raised just north of Lisbon in the wave haven of Ericeira, Tiago compliments his Hawaiian experience with his upbringing surfing big Atlantic swells at places like Coxos, and Nazare, a Pipeline look-alike left about 90 minutes drive from his home. Having just acquired a jet ski, he is keen to get into tow-in adventures, especially at Nazare, which can comfortably hold 20 foot, but his main focus remains the WQS, and hopefully eventually making the WCT cut.
Tiago PiresPundits and peers alike expected that either Tiago or Frenchman Miky Picon would be the first European to qualify for the WCT, but Franco-Brasileiro Eric Ribiere stole their anticipated thunder by qualifying ahead of the more heralded duo for this season. Had Tiago won the Rip Curl Cup in 2000, he would have made the WCT for 2001. He also won a three star WQS at Miramar that same season of 2000, but that year, and that year only, 3* events were disallowed from being included in surfers’ cumulative ratings points. It obviously wasn’t to be, and by his own admission, he may have been too inexperienced to survive a season of top shelf competition that early. Over the past two years, just like Miky, Tiago has had victories, but he has also been plagued with injuries and inconsistency.
Tiago Pires“You start every year wanting it to be THE year, but things happen that get in your way, and you lose focus and don’t do things right. I need to be more consistent. It is very frustrating to get a result one week, and lose first heat the next. Having Eric up there in the WCT is good incentive. He is one of us, and he has proven it is possible. He applied a formula, and did it comfortably. We need to do the same”, said Tiago.
In between recovering from a stretched knee ligament at Margaret River last month, Tiago has been training and working hard in Australia with his long-time Portuguese coach and friend Jose Seabra. He longs to see the Portuguese flag flying and the European presence on tour expanded. Tiago is ready - not just for Teahupoo, but for the long gruelling haul of the WQS season that lies ahead.