#feminino #atletas #festival 

Vahine Fierro Wins SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

Brisa Hennessy Jumps to World No. 1 After Runner-up Finish; Tatiana Weston-Webb Scores Perfect 10, Dedicates Ride to Her Filmer Greg Browning

06/Jun/2024 - WSL

TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Wednesday, May 29, 2024) - Today, Vahine Fierro (FRA) won the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown, Stop No. 6 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT), in huge six-to-ten-foot conditions at the world-renowned Teahupo’o, Tahiti. In a unique season where the location of this WSL Championship Tour competition will be the same as the Olympic Games Paris 2024, Teahupo’o hosted incredible conditions for the women’s Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Final today. The women continued to push the boundaries of what we’ve seen in competitive surfing in the massive and heavy waves, further evidencing what the world’s best surfers are capable of in waves of consequence. 

With the men's Elimination Round complete, the competition looks likely to run on the men's Finals Day tomorrow. The next call will be tomorrow, Thursday, May 29, at 6:45 a.m. TAHT for a possible 7:05 a.m. start. Tomorrow's forecast looks to continue the sizeable conditions from today for another epic day of action at Teahupo'o. 

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 a number of 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. “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 gotta 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.”

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. 

“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 jetski 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 gonna 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.”

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. 

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 of 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.  

“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 absolutely 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 really honored to be a part of it.”

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. 

“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. 

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 really grateful for that. And obviously, we have the Olympics coming up, and it's a really 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.” 

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.  

The opening heat of the men’s Elimination Round saw a major upset as Tahiti Trials winner Mihimana Braye (PYF) kept the Tahitian vibes high, taking down Ranking’s Leader Griffin Colapinto (USA). Braye was in good rhythm with Teahupo’o, picking off some smaller but longer and thicker waves to post a 15.10 two-wave total (out of a possible 20) and hold the heat lead for its entirety. Colapinto, known for his prowess in heavy, backhand barrels, was able to fight back late with a couple of mid-range scores, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the local, which means the yellow Leader’s jersey is up for grabs on Finals Day in Tahiti. 

“I’m super happy to make this heat at home with all of these people in the channel,” Braye said. “This is my second CT event, so I’m just stoked to make it. I beat Filipe (Toledo) last year when he was World No. 1, and now I’ve done it again with Griffin. I’ve been working so hard for this moment, and Teahupo’o has given me so much, so I’m super happy.” 

The first four heats of the Elimination Round witnessed goofy-foot versus natural-foot matchups, with the goofy-foots getting the nod in all five heats. Ramzi Boukhiam’s (MAR) battle with Liam O'Brien (AUS) was one of the most thrilling, with O’Brien finding three excellent scores but not the win as Boukhiam posted a 9.57 to clinch the win for a supercritical late drop into a heavy tube ride. A shock win went to Yago Dora (BRA), who overcame good friend and reigning SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro event winner Jack Robinson (AUS) in Heat 3. Robinson showed some of his trademark poise and technique in the barrel, but Dora’s longer roping tubes earned him the winning two-wave total of 16.57. 

2024 CT Rookie Cole Houshmand (USA) posted the highest two-wave total of the men’s event so far with a 17.56, which included a near-perfect 9.57 (out of a possible 10) for a wave Houshmand claimed was the best of his life. Houshmand took off deep on one of the bigger waves of the day to completely disappear before coming over the foam ball and getting blown into the channel. Houshmand will now take on 2019 Italo Ferriera (BRA) in the Round of 16 when competition resumes. 

“This is what you dream of when you come to Tahiti,” Houshmand said. “These are the waves you think of when you join the CT. That was definitely the best wave of my life and probably the biggest barrel of my life. That’s what I’ve dreamt of. I was scared I wasn’t going to make it, so I was stoked when I did. That thing just came up out of nowhere, and I knew I just had to swing. It was the biggest wave of the day, and I was in the spot, so I had to go, and I just swung on it. I thought I was too deep, so I channeled my inner Slater and went as high as I could. I got a bit carried away with my claim when I came out, but it was the wave of my life.” 

Southern California’s Jake Marshall (USA) and Crosby Colapinto (USA) both progressed through their Elimination Round matchups with huge scores, each posting waves over 9.00 points in their breakout Tahiti performances. Barron Mamiya (HAW) looked super comfortable in the heavy conditions, toying with the Teahupo’o tubes on his way to a 16.83 two-wave total to dispatch Matthew McGillivray (RSA) in Heat 7 of the Elimination Round. 

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Women’s Final Results:

1 - Vahine Fierro (FRA) 15.17

2 - Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 12.00

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Women’s Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 13.57 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 3.67

HEAT 2: Vahine Fierro (FRA) 17.70 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 16.07

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Women’s Quarterfinal Results:

HEAT 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 12.66 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 9.44

HEAT 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 8.16 DEF. Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 2.73

HEAT 3: Vahine Fierro (FRA) 15.13 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 3.17

HEAT 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.83 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.76

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Men’s Elimination Round Results:

HEAT 1: Mihimana Braye (PYF) 15.10 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.57

HEAT 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 17.24 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.50

HEAT 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.57 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 15.90

HEAT 4: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 16.86 DEF. Liam O'Brien (AUS) 16.74

HEAT 5: Jake Marshall (USA) 13.57 DEF. Connor O'Leary (JPN) 13.50

HEAT 6: Rio Waida (INA) 14.04 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 3.33

HEAT 7: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 16.83 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 10.57

HEAT 8: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 17.43 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.33

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)

HEAT 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)

HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)

HEAT 4: Cole Houshmand (USA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)

HEAT 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mihimana Braye (PYF)

HEAT 6: Crosby Colapinto (USA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)

HEAT 7: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)

HEAT 8: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)