TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Saturday, May 25, 2024) - The SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown, Stop No. 6 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT), started today with solid conditions in the six-to-eight-foot range at the iconic Teahupo’o in Tahiti. Today’s competition completed the women’s and men’s Opening Rounds and said goodbye to the first four competitors in the women’s Elimination Round, including World No. 1 Caitlin Simmers (USA). 

Today’s top scores included Tahiti’s Vahine Fierro (FRA) with a 9.33, 2024 CT rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA) with a 9.43, and Australia’s Ryan Callinan with a 9.10. All three surfers maneuvered through thick, critical tubes, taking off late and pulling in deep to come out with or even after the spit. 

Video Url

With a massive swell on the way, all competitors are eyeing the potential for towering waves next week. The next call will be tomorrow, Sunday, May 26 at 7:15 a.m. TAHT for a possible 7:35 a.m. start. 

Video Url

It’s been known that the event wildcard, Vahine Fierro (FRA), would be the one to watch throughout this competition, but the Tahitian made that extremely clear this morning with her dominant performance in the Opening Round. The local charger is renowned for her fearlessness and skill at this particular wave, and she set the bar high with a near-perfect 9.33 (out of a possible 10). Despite a strong showing with a 14.17 two-wave combined score (out of a possible 20), World No. 1 Caity Simmers (USA) was relegated to the elimination round alongside two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS), who struggled to complete her rides in this heat. 

Video Url

“It's amazing to have great conditions today,” said Fierro. “It's the first time in this event that I ever got that good of waves, so it's amazing. The waves are kind of slow, but whenever it would come, they’re good waves. And Caitlin [Simmers] started with a good score and I kind of waited for one, and I saw a really rushed one, and I went and paddled really hard, and it’s a brand new board. This is the only event I have here during my competitive season, so it's so nice to be at home to feel everybody's energy and it's just really special.”

Fellow Tahitian and the local trial’s winner, Mihimana Braye (PYF), placed second in his heat against 2029 World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA), who won the heat. He scored just above World No. 1 Griffin Colapinto (USA), who he will meet again in the opening heat of the men’s Elimination Round when competition resumes. 

Video Url

Rookie Sawyer Lindblad Scores Highest Wave of Event So Far, Then Eliminates World No. 1 Caity Simmers

Even though Caroline Marks (USA) won the Opening Round, Heat 4, she could have been in trouble after 2024 CT Rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA) surfed the wave of her career so far, a near-perfect 9.43 (out of a possible 10). Despite the incredible performance, Lindblad was unable to secure a second score and was sent to the Elimination Round alongside World No. 3 Molly Pickum (AUS). 

“That was a moment I've dreamed about forever,” said Lindblad. “Honestly, this is my first time to Tahiti and I was really intimidated by this wave, but I just knew I would hate myself if I let the fear consume me. So I just saw that way of coming and I'm just head down, just got to go even if I fall. I know that I had to do it for myself.”

Video Url

Lindblad then faced best friend and current World No. 1 Caity Simmers (USA) in the first heat of the Elimination Round. In a massive upset for 2023 even runner-up Simmers, the rookie stole the heat win as the Simmers struggled to find a back-up wave, leaving Lindblad to claim the win by less than 0.50 of a point. Simmers leaves Tahiti with a 9th-place result. 

Video Url
Video Url

Comments