The Papara Pro Surf Festival ran through a mammoth day of surfing, that saw Semifinalists decided in both the 1-Star ASP Qualifying Series, and Tahiti Nui Pro Junior divisions. Both divisions ran through Round 3 and the Quarterfinals in clean left and right runners at Papara rivermouth.
Hira Teriinatoofa (Tahiti) defeated Taumata Puhetini (PYF) and advanced into the Semifinals by unloading a series of precise and powerful snaps and hacks. Teriinatoofa, is one Tahiti's favourite surfing sons after winning events and accolades all over the world.
"That heat was stressful because there wasn't many waves," Teriinatoofa said. "Before I went out I had two strategies and I must have picked the right one. I got some little scores and built some momentum, and had some good scores at the end. I was really stoked to score an 8.50, I wasn't unhappy about getting lower scores at the start of the event, now is the time when you need to be getting the big ones and that's what's happening with me. Tomorrow is a new day and we will see what happens."
Kalani Ball (South Coast, NSW/AUS) is the last Australian standing in the Tahiti Nui Pro Junior division after he eliminated Cooper Chapman (AUS) in Quarterfinal 2, and Josh Hay (AUS) lost to Mateia Hiquily (PYF) in Quarterfinal 4. Ball was ranked No. 8 on the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series prior to this event and is sure to jump up a few places after tomorrow's finals.
"I saw that I would match-up against Cooper (Chapman) and I was nervous because he's one of the best guys," Ball said. "I knew I could win if I got the right waves and that's how it worked out, I'm so stoked! I knew I needed to do my best surfing to win that one. I got 3rd at the Pro Junior at Bells earlier this year, so hopefully I can make the Final tomorrow."
Keoni Yan (Tahiti) is through to the Semifinals of the Tahiti Nui Pro Junior, but was eliminated in the Quarterfinals of the QS in an up and down day of surfing. Yan's smooth carves and fins free turns saw him earn excellent scores all event. Yan will take on the only surfer who is in both the QS and Pro Junior Semifinals, Mateia Hiquily (PYF) tomorrow morning.
"It feels so good to be into the Semifinals," Yan said. "I didn't do very well in the last event in Rangiroa so this feels great. You can get some good scores out there if you play the game and wait for the better ones. I've been competing against Ariihoe (Tefaafana) all my life, I know he's capable of getting 8s and 9s, he's such a good surfer."
Cooper Chapman (North Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) was unable to make it through his Tahiti Nui Pro Junior Quarterfinal, but more than made up for it in the 1-Star QS Quarterfinal - posting the highest single wave score of the event thus far - 9.75. Chapman launched into a massive air-reverse, landed and executed another four powerful snaps to book a Semifinal spot against Teriinatoofa.
"It was a bummer to lose in the pro junior," Chapman said. "I saw that Kalani (Ball) caught a few smaller waves at the start, and built on that so I used the same strategy in my next Quarterfinal. I was on the back foot for a while until I found a few air sections. There's no pressure for me now, the junior was my focus and now that I'm out of that I can let my hair down and freesurf like I did in that one."
The Papara Pro Surf Festival will crown champions in all three divisions tomorrow, with a call being made at 7:30am for a possible 8am start. More info - papara.prosurfinglive.com
UPCOMING ASP 1-STAR QS SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS: SF 1: Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) vs. Cooper Chapman (AUS) SF 2: Heifara Tahutini Jr (PYF) vs. Mateia Hiquily (PYF)
UPCOMING TAHITI NUI PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS: SF 1: O'Neill Massin (PYF) vs. Kalani Ball (AUS) SF 2: Keoni Yan (PYF) vs. Mateia Hiquily (PYF)
UPCOMING VAHINE PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS: SF 1: Karelle Poppke (PYF) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS) SF 2: Vahine Fierro (PYF) vs. Sophia Bernard (AUS)