Chopes

Surfing Teahupoo

Ever since Laird Hamilton rode that perfectly formed, glassy monster, Teahupoo has become the ultimate wave to surf and film. The large swells throw impossibly thick lips crashing down onto a reef that is often only a few feet below the surface. What’s more is that even if you survive a game of kiss chase with the reef at Teahupoo, this reef is renowned for being alive with bacteria – thus creating nasty staph infections. But if you make it, and kick out before the whole wave closes out on your head, then it may well be the best left hand barrel of your life. At the very least you might have pissed your pants a little.

Now I know this is over a year late, but I wanted to document this phenomenon. Last year (August 27, 2012) the best surfers in the world were gathered for the annual Billabong Pro event Tahiti when the largest swell seen at chopes hit the infamous reef. The best tow crews flew in from the far flung edges of the world, ready to risk life and limb for what would be the most intense rides of their careers. There was media mayhem, the Tahitian coast guard put the alert on ‘Code Red’ and threatened to arrest anyone who went in the water; pros were scared that this was setting up for someone to die on camera. Yet they still went, the cameras wer rolling, and the footage is incredible. Teahupoo is usually this perfect crystal blue wave – but it turned into a frothing dark monster ready to swallow up all who tried to escape its jaws. Have a look for yourself:


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