Alain Riou wins wildcard at Teahupo'o
The final two wildcard positions in event #5 on the Association of Surfing Professionals Men's World Tour, the Billabong Pro, have been decided with Ricardo Dos Santos, 22, (BRA) and local Alain Riou, 29, (PYF) finishing first and second respectively in the Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials which culminated today in clean two metre waves at the South Pacific reef pass of Teahupo'o.
The pair finished ahead of 30 other international invitees to claim the coveted wildcard spots in the event that is considered the most prestigious of its kind on the annual pro surfing calendar.
Riou is a former trials winner, claiming the division in 2003 and then qualifying for the main event again in 2005, proving that experience counts at Teahupo'o. The local goofy-foot poses a serious threat to all of the main event seeds. Riou lives just ten minutes from Teahupo'o and has surfed the location since he was a teenager. His highest ranking was 26th on the World Qualifying Series Tour.
Being in the main event is everything, that's why I went in the trials, but I feel bad about the final. I had priority, I looked at the wave, it was a small wave but barrelled across the reef and I gave it to Ricardo, but that's done. I'm happy, I feel confident. This is home, I'm ready. I feel good."
Photo credits: ASP/Robertson