This weekend’s surf blogging is a short clip, but feel free to watch it over and over again, because it certainly warrants it!
Or, if you want to see a longer clip of the same ride, go watch the unembeddable version at YouTube.
The break is Teahupoo, (pronounced Cho-pu or Te-ah-hu-po), a world-renowned reef break off south-east Tahiti in the southern Pacific. And the surfer is local Manoa Drollet.
I wanted to post a clip showing a Tahitian surfer there, as the locals were riding this radical wave long before outsiders made it famous. And famous it has become!
With reason, for I have never seen such a mutant wave. It comes barreling in off deep water, wraps almost horse-shoe shape around a really shallow reef, jacks up and doubles in size, with the thickest lip I’ve ever seen in a wave, then comes thundering down.
Awe-inspiring doesn’t begin to cover it.
According to Wikipedia, bodyboarders Mike Stewart and Ben Severson surfed Teahupoo in 1986, transforming it into an underground spot for globe-trotting thrill-seeking bodyboarders. It wasn’t until around 1998, though, at the Gotcha Tahiti Pro, that Teahupoo became widely recognized as a stand-up spot. Then in August 17th, 2000, superb big-wave rider, Laird Hamilton, tow-in surfed one of the biggest waves ever ridden there. (I’ll go into the physics of tow-in surfing in a later SSB.)
That ride is shown in the following clip, which captures both the wave’s “mutancy” and power, and the undercurrent of fear and respect among surfers at the spot.