Vahine Fierro (FRA) became the first Tahitian local to win the Tahiti Pro as a wildcard. Not only was Fierro’s win impressive from her performances throughout the day, but she also faced incredibly tough competition on a day that saw the bar raised by several women. Hailing from the outer island Huahine, Fierro and her family relocated to Teahupo’o as she and her sisters began to focus on their competitive surfing careers. Fierro’s time and experience at Teahupo’o shows, with the 24-year-old putting on some of the most incredible performances at the wave and showing what is possible for women in the world’s heaviest waves. In her third wildcard appearance at her home break, the former WSL World Junior Champion claimed the biggest win of her career on a proud day for Tahiti and France. 

“I mean, I knew and believed that at some point I would win this event,” Fierro said. 

Vahine Fierro. Ed Sloane/WSL

“My body is sore everywhere I gave it my all. I wiped out so many times and broke my board. It was like madness. I was calm. It's insane. I just want to thank everybody because all their energy is what motivates me, what inspires me. I wanted to thank Jeremy Flores for coaching me through all of this. He was telling me, ‘It's the semi now. You just need to go. There's no pulling back, and there's no holding back. You just got to go.’ Jessi [Miley-Dyer] made the amazing call to throw us out there today, and that's what women need. Thank you to Jessi for trusting the women because we were more than capable out there. Thank you, Teahupo’o, so special and thank you for sending me the best waves of my life in that heat.”

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In the Final, Fierro faced Brisa Hennessy (CRC), who has been a standout at Teahupo’o for several years now. Both surfers got the Final started early, with each earning mid-range scores and Fierro holding a narrow lead. Eventually, Fierro found a solid, thick tube and pulled in deep, flying out with the spit to earn an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) and put Hennessy into a combination situation (needing two scores). Hennessy eventually found a set of her own to post another good score and give herself a shot at the lead. Eventually, the clock was the enemy of the Costa Rican representative as the time wound down before another set came, leaving Fierro to claim a historical win. Both Hennessy and Fierro will take plenty of confidence out of their performances today as they will both return to Teahupo’o for the Olympics this July. 

Brisa Hennesy. Ed Sloane/WSL

“I also want to thank my parents; Kauli [Vaast], my sparring partner, he pushes me so much, you know, he's the best out there, so I wanted to thank him too, and my boyfriend for spending hours on the jet ski filming and just everybody," continued Fierro. "Thank you. I wanted to congratulate Brisa [Hennessy] because she has the sickest backside style. No rail grab all event long. She was showing that style, and having a final with her was exactly what I wanted. It was a rematch from our Semifinal [in 2022]. I was stoked, and just being against the best in the world and learning from their experiences and their competitive skills just pushes everybody. We [the women] just need the conditions, and we're going to show up, we're going to throw ourselves over the ledge, and try and try and try over again. So I'm just so stoked right now.”

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Although the day belonged to Fierro, her opponents Brisa Hennessy (CRC) and Tatiana-Weston-Webb (BRA) posted stunning highlights throughout the day, earning solid scores and completing ground-breaking tube rides

Brisa Hennessy Jumps to World No. 1 After Runner-up Finish 

With her runner-up finish today, Hennessy jumps up to World No. 1 on the CT rankings. The 24-year-old did not have an easy path to the Final, as she took down Caroline Marks (USA), the defending event winner and reigning World Champion, in the Semifinals, and Carissa Moore (HAW), the five-time World Champion, in the Quarterfinals. In all her heats today, Hennessy charged the Teahupo’o Bowl, taking off deep, setting her line, and pulling in with no hands before grabbing her rail and charging through some of the thickest tubes seen all day, a technique used by some of the most stylish barrel-riders on the planet.  

Brisa Hennessy Ed Sloane/WSL

“It's just been an honor to come up against Vahine,” Hennessy said. “I mean, she is the queen out here in every respect, and I respect her so much. I have so much more to learn out there. I'm still terrified, but I'm excited about this new journey. I think it's incredible to see how the new opportunities and leveling up that the women are doing, it gives me goosebumps, so I’m honored to be a part of it.”

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Hennessy has been extremely successful this season with consistent third-place results all year, except for a ruptured eardrum injury in Portugal that forced her to withdraw early. Her accomplishments this season are profound, considering the recovery and challenge she faced last year following her diagnoses of hypothyroidism, depression, EBV, and a pituitary gland adenoma. Hennessy has shown strength and resilience through her recovery while also being vulnerable and open about her journey. With her current standing on the World Rankings, Hennessy improves her World Title hopes with a step closer to locking in a spot in the WSL Final 5. 

Tatiana Weston-Webb. Matt Dunbar?WSL

“I was talking about it with my mom the other day, and it's like, you're like on the edge of so much anxiety, but just on the other side of that edge lies the wave of your life and endless possibility and opportunity,” continued Hennessy. “And I think that's what it feels like. Pressure is a privilege. I want to feel that, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Seriously, I honestly didn't even know if I was going to compete again. It was quite a bit of a roller coaster for me in 2023, you know, falling off the Tour, dealing with my health issues mentally and not being my strongest, and I don't know, that definitely feels very sunshiney and warm.”

Hennessy will wear the yellow leader jersey going into stop No.7 of the WSL CT, the Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona, which holds a competition window from June 6 to 15, 2024. 

Matt Dunbar/WSL

Tatiana Weston-Webb Makes History with Women’s First Perfect 10 at Teahupo’o, Dedicates Ride to Her Filmer and Longtime Friend Greg Browning 

Despite losing to eventual event winner Fierro, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) made history today with the first Perfect 10 ever from a woman at the Tahiti Pro. Weston-Webb dug deep to paddle over the ledge and into a huge set wave, making it to the bottom and almost catching her rail in the critical part of the wave only to recover and put herself deep in the barrel, behind the heavy Teahupo’o curtain. Weston-Webb then navigated the foam ball and the spit to fly out of the barrel for the Perfect score. Weston-Webb’s amazing surfing continues to push surfing’s progression even more in today’s pumping conditions. 

“That was just a gift from God,” said Weston-Webb. “It's really scary out there, but I just was so grateful to have the opportunity. Like, how often do we get these conditions? Especially for females? I feel like the women's sport is evolving so much, especially in surfing and the WSL is giving us that platform. And I just feel grateful for that. And obviously, we have the Olympics coming up, and it's a big goal of mine to do pretty well there. Vahine is amazing out here, and she inspires me. and I knew that she was going to get 8’s minimum. So, I knew I needed to do something cool. And, yeah, I guess I did.” 

Tatiana Weston-Webb. Ed Sloane/WSL

In an emotional interview following her heat, Weston-Webb dedicated the wave to her filmer and longtime friend Greg Browning, who was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) last year. 

“I want to give a quick shout-out to a very special someone, Greg Browning,” Weston-Webb said. “He is the best person in the world. And yeah, all my love is with you, Greg. I just want to say one more time, ‘Thank you to all the viewers. Thank you for all the positive comments towards women’s surfing. I can't really thank you guys enough for also allowing us to do what we love to do.”

Before the Semifinal heat, Weston-Webb eliminated two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) in Quarterfinal 4 with a 14.83 two-wave total (out of a possible 20) to Wright’s 13.76. Although Wright finished in equal 5th position, she dropped one spot to 9th on the rankings.  

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