Earlier today, the ASP decided on the final two wildcard spots in the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Brazilian Ricardos Dos Santos and local Alain Riou earned the right to surf the famous barrels of Teahupoo in one of the biggest ASP events of the year. The two qualifiers will now square off against the top two seeds, Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson, in the opening round.
Last year, the contest was held up when Teahupoo put out some of its biggest waves ever. Despite warnings about dangerous conditions, a number of surfers tested their mettle against the Tahitian giants. "Witnessing this was a draining feeling being terrified for other people's lives all day long, it's life or death," Kelly Slater said last year. "Letting go of that rope one time can change your life and not many people will ever experience that in their life."
In the video above, Slater and a host of other pro surfers talk a bit more about what it's like catching a wave in the competition. "In waves like this, that's the excitement of them, is that your just on the verge of make or break," he says. "And that's when you get the tens, when you take off on one and you don't know if you're going to make the drop. You don't know if you're going to make the barrel. You're on the foam ball. The thing blows you out the end. You're just like, that's it."
This year's event will be streamed live beginning on Thursday, August 16 at billabongpro.com.