Hawaii’s Jeff Hubbard has staked his claim as a genuine world title threat after winning the APB SparkGreen Tahiti Challenge in clean 2m waves at Teahupo’o Tahiti.
Hubbard defeated local charger Cedric Estall (TAH) in the 30 minute final with a combined score of 13.43 to Cedric’s 9.7 total.
The day started off with quarter final #3 Alan Munoz (CHI) vs Jared Houston (ZAF) which saw Houston claim victory with a combination score over Munoz due to slow consistency of wave sets. The fourth quarter final played out with Jeff Hubbard (HAW) narrowly defeating local Tahitian Angelo Faraire leaving one Tahitian left in the contest – Cedric Estall.
Semi-Final #1 was an all out fight with Mike Stewart (HAW) just falling short on a score that ultimately pushed Cedric Estall (TAH) into the final with a total of 12.60 to Stewart’s 12.56. Semi-Final #2 was up next and Jared Houston (ZAF) and Jeff Hubbard (HAW) exchanged moves and heat leader position several times but it was the three times world champ Hubbard who managed to take down the current world champion Houston (ZAF) to reach the final and take on Estall the local favourite.
The Podium final followed on with Mike Stewart and Jared Houston where a flurry of waves were caught by both riders but it was the current world champion Houston who edged out the veteran Stewart to reach the podium and claim 3rd place for the second time this year after Pipeline.
In the final, Jeff Hubbard had first strike with a 7.00 point scoring wave with a well executed air roll spin. Cédric Estall responded with a 4.77 with a radical Rollo off the end bowl. Hubbard continued and then scored a 5.60 on his second wave. Then Cedric improved with a 5.77 and was now left needing a score of 8.01 but only managed to get a wave score of 4.93. Hubbard drives the nail in the coffin with a final wave score of 6.43 to total his score of 13.43 against 9.7 of Cédric Estall.
This 2nd place finish of Cedric Estall is a little victory in it itself – the free rider against the competition rider. No sponsors, no money, no fins and no board one week before the start of the competition, he proved that the Polynesian bodyboarders could compete with the world’s highest level. He will now hopefully succeed to find sponsors to successfully travel and participate in other events of the world tour.