The Tahitian Experience

Once the road to Teahupoo town ends, you have to walk roughly a quarter mile, and cross two rivers to get to the house where I’m staying. It sits at the foot of beautiful mountains, directly in front of a reef pass that holds one of the heaviest waves on the planet. I’ve been here about five or six days.

With the house to myself, some great boards, plenty of food, and three more swells on the way, I went to bed surfed-out last night, thinking things couldn’t get much better.

Woke up early this morning, checked the waves at Teahupoo from bed, and got up to surf. After putting together a cup of old coffee using a spaghetti strainer, I went to grab a board, and thought I was still dreaming. My coffin was open and half of my boards were gone.

After rubbing my eyes it really hit me. Someone sunk into the house during the violent thunderstorm last night, opened up my bag in the living room, and stole two of my custom Rusty surfboards, some leashes, and two sets Futures fins. “No!”

Luckily the thief left my last two boards in the coffin, a 6’4 and a 7’0 step-up.

The house is so far down the Teahupoo valley, and surrounded by 6 of my neighbors gnarly pitbulls and dobermans. In disbelief that someone actually creeped past the dogs and got into the house (not because it’s tough to get in – it doesn’t have all the windows, any locks, and the front door doesn’t shut all the way), but while I was sleeping? A quiet part of Tahiti is the last place I expected to get burglarized.

After talking with my neighbors about what happened, I spent the morning cruising up rivers, crawling under bushes, and walking the trails and road to look around for any sign of the boards.

After an unsuccessful hunt, I powered the 30 minute paddle out the channel on my 6’4, and surfed messy Teahupoo all alone in the rain. After nearly getting caught by a bomb, I decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to be surfing all the way out there alone in those conditions, and paddled in after my next wave.

Surf got good later in the day so I went out for two more sessions, and caught some of the best waves I’ve ridden all year. But, toward the end of my last session, I got annihilated in the barrel, slammed the reef, washed into the lagoon, and broke my 6’4!

The 30 minute swim across the lagoon was uncomfortable because I was bleeding and couldn’t get tiger sharks out of my head.

It’s been five days, I have one board left, and over a month to go. Maybe I’ll become a bodysurfer.

During the sunset, my neighbor brought over a giant platter of fruit for dinner. She watched the day unfold from her front porch and must have known the gesture would be appreciated. Was really sweet of her.

I’m not bummed on the stolen boards. Really happy to be in Tahiti, and feel fortunate to have the opportunity and psych to surf Teahupoo everyday. Was expecting to break all my boards by the end of the first week anyway. Yew.

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