Let’s be honest, after claiming his third J-Bay crown Filipe Toledo is en route to winning his second World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) title. This certainty has sucked a lot of the excitement out of the impending Finals at Lower Trestles this September. The good news however, is that before this eventuality comes to fruition we get to enjoy the last stop of the regular CT season where all bets are off (so to speak). That’s right – it’s time for Teahupoʻo!
The most feared event on tour is days away, and it will shift Top 5 rankings while determining who the remaining two spots will go to. In fact, if barrel-dodging Toledo gets eliminated early and Ethan Ewing (No.2), Griffin Colapinto (No.3) and the other Top 5 contenders make the Semis or better, Filipe could get relegated to the No.5 spot and perhaps not win the whole enchilada in San Clemente after all. Will this drama unfold? Or will there be a breakout performance from an unexpected entity in Tahiti? Have a look at our 2023 SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro odds and predictions to find out.
Betting Preview for the WSL WCT SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Men’s Surfing Competition Running from August 11 to 20 2023
Where: Teahupoʻo, Tahiti, French Polynesia
When: Waiting period runs from August 11-20, 2023
Betting Lines: View WSL betting odds
Streaming Broadcast: WSL website / WSL YouTube
Sponsor: Presented by SHISEIDO
Online Commentary: BeachGrit
Gabriel Medina: 5/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.6
After a so-so season (for Medina, that is) the Tahiti Pro represents the 3x CT Champion’s time to shine. Below is a breakdown of Medina’s string of strong performances at the Tahiti Pro:
- 5th in 2012
- 1st against an in-form Kelly Slater in 2014
- 2nd to Jeremy Flores in 2015
- 3rd in 2016
- 2nd to Julian Wilson in 2017
- 1st in 2018
- 2nd to Owen Wright in 2019
This Brazilian knows how to get to the podium in Teahupoʻo better than anyone. Moreover, goofy-footed Medina needs to move up one spot to make it into the elusive Top 5 which is all of the motivation he needs to claim his third victory at this big and bending left-handed wave.
John John Florence: 4/6 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.7
John John Florence got robbed by WSL judges against an over-scored Connor O’Leary in the final minute of the Corona J-Bay Open. If it weren’t for that, he would have probably fulfilled this prediction to win the event and be sitting pretty in the Top 5. Instead, JJF was booted with a 9th place finish and now needs to make the Semis (while other contenders fall) to sneak onto the train to Lower Trestles in September. How will he respond to the pressure? Will he rise to the occasion or concede and join his brother Nathan on the slab-chasing vlog tour next season? If a mid to long-period SW/S swell arrives during the event window at Teahupoʻo John John will absolutely charge and come out with the spit better than the rest. At press, the forecast is hit-or-miss, but if conditions are prime adjust your bets to include Florence as an equal favorite to Medina (above) to win the 2023 Tahiti Pro.
John John was injured during the last three times the event ran. His best result to date is a 2nd to Kelly Slater in 2016.
Ethan Ewing: 8/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.2
The Australian regular-footer doesn’t have a lot of experience at Teahupoʻo. Ewing came in 9th at the Tahiti Pro in 2022 and 13th in 2017. That’s not much for bettors to go on. However, we’d be remiss to not include Ethan as a favorite in this accounting of Tahiti Pro odds and predictions. He sits at No.2 on the CT and is behind Felipe Toledo by over 7,100 points. He (and the rest of the world) knows that Toledo is expected to choke at Teahupoʻo, which gives Ewing the opportunity to claim the No.1 spot which is honestly his only possible shot at winning the Rip Curl WSL Finals in September. Ethan Ewing is competing like a beast this season, so despite having little to no pedigree in Tahiti, he is a solid pick to win the event.
Kelly Slater: 8/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.23
We’ve almost given up on Kelly Slater. For all intents and purposes he is the worst competitive surfer on the CT in 2023, and is as questionable in a heat against the likes of Liam O’Brien as he is against Filipe Toledo. However, Slater has more wins (five) at Teahupoʻo than any other surfer on the WSL WCT, past and present. While that can be said about nearly every event when you consider that he has been on tour for over three decades, Teahupoʻo is like Pipeline for Kelly. He has a special relationship with the wave that doesn’t seem to decay with time. For instance, he came in 3rd at the Tahiti Pro last year after losing to local wildcard Kauli Vaast, and won the event against John John Florence in 2016. As with JJF, Slater’s status as a favorite depends solely on conditions. If that mid to long-period SW/S swell comes charging in, bet on Slater to win his sixth Tahiti Pro.
Griffin Colapinto: 10/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.3
Griffin Colapinto is feeling good as he prepares to perform in front of his home crowd in San Clemente for the 2023 Rip Curl WSL Finals. He’d feel a lot better if he could secure the No.1 spot in the Top 5 and not have to face the gauntlet of other contenders who are equally hungry for the World Title. In order to do that, he needs to come out on top at the Tahiti Pro. His best results at Teahupoʻo are a pair of 9th place finishes which he received in 2019 and 2022. The Colapinto of 2023 is much calmer, more confident, and refined, which makes him a solid sleeper pick for the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro.
Kanoa Igarashi: 15/1 Odds
WCT Ranking: No.13
Kanoa Igarashi enjoyed his best performance of the year after coming in 3rd at the Corona J-Bay Open in July. That result moved the Japanese-American up by three spots on CT rankings. That being said, the uncharacteristic No.13 position isn’t sitting well with the former World Title contender, and so he looks to at least move into the top ten to close out the season. Kanoa came in 5th at the Tahiti Pro in 2022 while under pressure to secure his spot in the Top 5, which he did with flare by nabbing one of the best barrels of the event. Hedge your bets by putting down $50 on Igarashi to win, especially if conditions are mediocre when the event window opens.
Kauli Vaast: 20/1 Odds
Tahiti native Kauli Vaast has locked in his spot to represent France (ahem) at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games which will take place (the surfing portion) at Teahupoʻo. As a result, all eyes will be on the 2023 Tahiti Pro wildcard. He almost won the event as a wildcard in 2022 until Brazilian Miguel Pupo crushed that storyline. He also came in 9th at the same event in 2019 after losing to fellow countryman (ahem) Jeremy Flores. Vaast also has a solid result in 2023 after coming in 5th at the Ballito Pro. In all other scenarios at Teahupoʻo we’d call Kauli a sleeper pick at least, but there’s a LOT on the line as CT’s elite battle it out for Top 5 positioning. They will not show the young local Tahitian any grace in the race to the Tahiti Pro podium.
2023 WSL SHISEIDO TAHITI PRO MEN’S WINNER PREDICTION
Gabriel Medina jumps into the Top 5 by winning his third Tahiti Pro title. Look at Lower Trestles, the Medina train in coming in hot!