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16.05.04 - WHAT A DAY – WHAT A CONTEST! - CJ finally grasps gold at the end of the Teahupoo rainbow, and runner-up Hog is a happy man despite dislocating his shoulder.
- Five world champs march straight thru to round 3.
- Round one finally gets underway, but it gets canned after just five heats due to gross inconsistency in the small swell.
- The same result as last event, and now the girls are even tighter.
- Joel Parkinson stays home, after a pregnancy scare dash back to Australia, awaiting the pending birth of his first child.

18.05.04 - CRUISING AS THE SHOW LEAVES TOWN - Teahupoo transforms as the tour moves on.
Ex sarge, Teahupoo, Tahiti, Tuesday May 18th, 2004.

Guilherme Herdy & Peterson Rosa
Guilherme Herdy (R) and Peterson 'The Animal' Rosa,
headed out for a surf yesterday morning. They are here
until Friday, and will be the last pros to leave.

THERE'S few more stark contrasts on the pro surfing road than a contest site the day after an event has finished. The show has left town. If you're still there, it's the weirdest feeling, as though you have been left behind, dropped off the pace. The feelings somehow gravitate towards sadness. The crowd and their cheers of appreciation and awe are gone, the over-bearing contest tower has been stripped of its trimmings, a matchbox maze of scaffolding revealed, the lineup has returned to its local keepers, and you can even park anywhere you want without any problems. Even the surf was having a rest. Not even 24 hours since CJ claimed his gold, the monster of Teahupoo has dropped into a temporary lull of hibernation, awaiting the next energy injection from the Great Southern Ocean. The atmosphere felt nearly as flat. The hype of the final day became just an echo in your head, a memory, more for the grey matter files, ready for review sometime in the future, more than likely over a few beers.

Alain Riou, Tiago Pires, Mick Fanning & Nathan Hedge
Cruising yesterday at local Alain Riou's place, L to R, Alain,
Tiago Pires, Mick Fanning and Nathan Hedge (back ot camera).

There were about a dozen pros left in town yesterday, a rare thing, but with Quiky's event in Fiji still a week away, there was no rush. Bottom line, they would be gone if they could, but out here in the middle of the Pacific, the flights aren't regular. Almost without exception on tour, WQS or WCT, unless you're a contest junkie like Occy, losing is almost always immediately followed by flying - home or to the next event. The Hobgoods flew out Sunday night. Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Corey Lopez are here until Wednesday night before flying to Fiji to take part in Kelly's invitational celebrity showdown prelude to the Quiksilver Pro which begins on Saturday, while the main event waiting period begins next Wednesday. Bruce Irons and Kaiborg leave for Hawaii on Wednesday afternoon. Peterson Rosa and Guilherme Herdy fly Friday. The last Sydney-bound flight before Wednesday morning lifted off from Papette yesterday morning at 4am, too severe a mission after a day of cruising. A few intended to pay the extra aud$1385 to change their tickets, but in the end it didn't happen.

Alain Riou, Tiago Pires & Mick Fanning
About to head out to Small Pass from Alain Riou'
are more important than cars here! L to R Alain, Portugal's
Tiago Pires (in boat) and Mick Fanning.

Instead of rushing, a thirsty few popped some stubbies, as well as a bottle of champagne, to unwind after a hectic few days and spent a leisurely Sunday. Local legend Raimana took Andy, Bruce, Corey, Kelly, Kaiborg, Occy, Hog and Louie out for a run in his boat around the beautiful atoll lagoon. They found their own little low tide island in the middle of the lagoon, sat around it like marooned Robinson Crusoe's and cracked the champers. If that wasn't enough hospitality, Raimana further exemplified the local spirit of brotherhood and aloha by hosting all for dinner with an exceptional spread of sashimi, savoury rice and fish kebabs that same night. The food was amazing, as is the incredible local vibe. Tahitians rule, the people as beautiful as the scenery!

Mick Fanning
You can't get any more waterfront (without getting wet)
than Mick Fanning's bedroom here in Fiji. That's his
thatched bedroom door on the left.

Occy and Luke headed into town last night to stay at the Beachcomber Resort near the airport in Papette to kick back before the flight home. The balance of the Aussie crew will follow suit today, in order to minimise the hassle of a getting up here in Teahupoo at 330am tomorrow morning to drive to the airport for a 6am check-in for our 8am flight. Only a few crew went surfing yesterday. Mick Fanning, Tiago Pires and Alain Riou went out to Small Pass and had some fun waves, while The Animal and Herdy Gerdy did likewise. Andy, Corey and giant killer Troy Brooks went for a quick little four foot surf out at Chopes this morn', but now, 1030am in Teahupoo, it's time for the labour of packing. It's been a cruisy couple of days, unusual days in this hectic lifestyle. It'll be back to full pace real soon.

Guilherme Herdy & Host
The locals that billet out bedrooms to the pros
here during this event are always extremely proud
of 'their' boys. Guilherme's host here was stoked
that Herdy had a photo in the local programme.
It'll be framed on the wall when Guilherme
comes back next year.

(P.S. Because I will be travelling the next two days, there will be no further posting to this page until Thursday Aussie time. We have something like 18 hours in Sydney before flying out to Fiji for Kelly's gig on Friday morning. We'll also grab CJ for an interview for his angle on his victory asap - we failed to link up before he flew out).