An Ewing duel looms as the swell arrives, Tahiti Pro delivers

Murray Wenzel |

Hawaiian Barron Mamiya was among those to benefit when the swell arrived at the Tahiti Pro.
Hawaiian Barron Mamiya was among those to benefit when the swell arrived at the Tahiti Pro.

Ethan Ewing will have his Olympic credentials tested by Kelly Slater and a pumping Teahupo’o wave in a Tahiti Pro round of 16.

Australian Ewing will be the first man in the water on Friday invited to take on the retiring 11-time world champion who has won the event five times.

A swell of almost four meters is forecast, with the stage set on Thursday when local wildcard Vahine Fierro beat a perfect 10 to Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb in the semi-finals before winning the women’s title.

Local wildcard Vahine Fierro stunned the Tahiti Pro field, winning in tremendous conditions. (HANDOUT/World Surf League)

Ewing and fellow Australian Ryan Callinan, who will face Hawaii’s Barron Mamiya, both advanced straight with wins in their first round heats at the World Surf League (WSL) event earlier this week.

Ewing’s Olympic counterpart and defending Tahiti champion Jack Robinson (15.90) ​​was defeated by an 8.40-point Yago Dora (16.57) buzzer-beater in their elimination heat.

Gold Coast surfer Liam O’Brien (16.74) was beaten by Ramzi Boukhiam (16.86) on a day where consistently incredible waves meant high scores abounded.

On the women’s side, Tyler Wright and Molly Picklum were defeated in the quarterfinals by Weston-Webb and Fierro, respectively.

The Australian duo will return to the French Polynesian break in August with Ewing and Robinson for the sport’s second Olympic appearance.

Tyler Wright was defeated in the quarterfinals of Tahiti Pro and will soon return for the Olympics. (HANDOUT/World Surf League)

Wright’s older brother Owen scored bronze for Australia in his sporting debut at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

Fierro was the feel-good story on an eventful day, beating Weston-Webb 17.70 to 16.07 in a semi-final before defeating Costa Rica’s No. 1 Brisa Hennessy in the final.

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

“My body hurts everywhere – I gave it everything. I’ve been wiped out and broken my board so many times.

“It was like madness. I was calm. It’s insane.

“(WSL commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer) made the great call to throw us out today, and that’s what women need.

“Thank you to Jessi for trusting the women because we were more than capable there.”


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