During the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the WSL regional office of Hawaii/Tahiti Nui spearheaded two different community initiatives to demonstrate their support and appreciation to the locals who call the island home. General Manager of the region Jodi Wilmott and Operations and Marketing Manager Robin Erb partnered with CT athletes including Billabong Pro Tahiti Champion Julian Wilson, Tahiti’s own Michel Bourez, 3x World Champion Mick Fanning, CT rookie Conner Coffin, Tahiti trials competitor Jack Robinson and 2018 CT hopeful Joan Duru to hand out 90 backpacks to the students of the Teahupo’o district.

Backpacks and event posters were donated to 90 students from the Teahupo’o district to begin their new school year in Tahiti. WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui and the participating pros were thrilled to stoke out and support these local youth, many of whom live beyond the end of the road and commute to school daily by boat.

Many of the students were excited to meet their hometown hero, Michel Bourez, and he was equally stoked to support the up-and-coming surfers of his local community.

Mauruuru to Carrefour, the Federation Tahitienne de Surf and the athletes for contributing their time to making this day special for Teahupo’o’s youth!

Additionally, the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui team partneted with the Federation Tahitienne de Surf, Tahiti Iti Surf Club and CRIOBE (a local marine research institute) to plant coral along the near-waters of the Rahui, just south of Teahupo’o.

The Rahui is a 768-hectare area (nearly 2,000 acres) of ocean just past the famous wave of Teahupo’o that is completely “closed” to human marine activity and fish harvesting for the purpose of protecting and rejuvenating fish populations to support the core lifestyle of the local Tahitian families.

Of the 2,300 population of Teahupo’o, or 700 households, 80% have no formal source of salary, existing largely on sustainable fishing and farming and hosting surfers and visitors to the area. The ocean is central to this population’s identity and the core of their culture.

The organizations collaborated to plant an estimated 40 baby coral into an underwater frame where they will mature for 20-24 months before being transplanted back into the reef. The Tahiti Iti Surf Club has been planting coral for the past two years and works with the local community on other marine rejuvenation efforts including annual beach clean ups and invasive species removal to further protect Tahiti’s coral reefs.

Mauruuru to Antoine Puisay and Yann Lacube of CRIOBE for leading the team on the coral planting initiative!