31May

Tea’hupoo

Tea'hupoo shopTea’hupoo (pronounced Tcho-poo) is a very small town on the southwest coast of Tahiti which even to this day remains largely untouched by the hands of mankind.

It is literally the end of the road on the main island’s south eastern offshoot called Tahiti-Iti and to give you some idea of what a sprawling metropolis it isn’t, this picture is of the only shop in the town.

Tea'hupoo CrowdTea’hupoo was completely off the rest of the surf world’s radar until the story broke about a phenomenal wave that occasionally breaks there in the late eighties.

Since that time the break has been regularly making headlines, snapping boards, and hospitalising surfers.

It features almost every year in the XXL biggest wave wins contest is now one of the regular stops on the world tour. Pictures like this one demonstrate how badly the water drains off the reef that causes the wave to break (you can see it sloping downhill!) to leave anybody caught there in the impact zone where the wave lands with a more than thirty foot high water hammer heading their way and less than two feet of water between you and the reef anvil below. 

Mechanics of TeahupooIt is a freak wave that sometime doesn’t appear to follow the laws of physics because of how thick the lip at the top of the wave is.

This diagram explains it all far better than I can so I wont try to explain it. 

Teahupoo Forecast

Every once in a while the waves break here on an unbelievably  large scale, and as luck would have it I have arrived in time for one of these monster swells. This is a screen print of the forecast at the moment

Such waves cannot be guaranteed here and it may be only every few years that they break this big so I am incredibly lucky to be here. 

Tea'hupoo BackdropI’m not saying no to paddling out just yet, but I strongly suspect it might end up being a bit big for me.

It is an awesome wave and the backdrop is no less impressive, however whilst I am willing to push the envelope a certain degree I do not wish to throw away my life.

The top pros who live for this stuff will be flying in from all over the world just to try and bag one of the monsters that are going to be available this weekend, all of which makes me wonder if it will be above my pay grade despite the amount of practise I have enjoyed recently.

 Going BadlyFor some of them they will get the surf of their lifetimes.

For other things might not go so well…

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