Pandora Immersion

A solid swell hit Tahiti a few days ago that happened to coincide with great weather. Surfing big Teahupoo for eight hours everyday has been incredible and draining. Haven’t been surfed-out like this in a long time. It’s the best feeling in the world. Eyes are fried, skin is cut-up from the reef and sunburnt from the long sessions, and my mind’s very calm. Surfing heavy waves always seems to put things in perspective, reassuring priorities in life.

Teahupoo is an anomaly. You slide in, do a big pump under the lip, backdoor the juicy “west bowl” horseshoe, and get blown-out with the spit into the channel on just about every wave. Still have to pay to play though. The past couple days I’ve been rolled over the coral reef and pushed into the lagoon a handful of times during violent wipeouts.

The 45 minute paddle back out around the reef through the lagoon is a beautiful, yet tiresome, consolation from the beatings. There are little sharks, spinner dolphin, all kinds of colorful fish, vibrant coral columns, and the view of the square barrels and steep mountains that fall into the sea is like staring into Pandora.

Since it’s early season, there are very few guys out. Had it for five hours this morning with just a couple really cool Tahitian shredders. Mark Healey, Michel Bourez, Raimana Van Bastolaer, Manoa Drollet, and Jamie Mitchell are friends who flew in for the swell, but other than surfing with the few pro chargers the past couple big days, it’s usually a really mellow crew of a few locals in the lineup.

After surfing I sit in the shade, watch the waves, and eat coconuts from the trees in the backyard. Sometimes I’ll treat myself to poisson cru made from Ahi brought in by the local fisherman.

So stoked to have gone with my gut and bought the last second flight down here. It’s great when trips come together by acting on a spur of the moment feeling.

Very fortunate to be here, and have the health, ability, energy, and overwhelming desire to surf this heavy wave as much as possible. Teahupoo has already become an obsession and addiction. Going to put lots of time in the lineup with hopes of eventually catching the wave of my life out there.

Photo:  Top – Setting-up to no-hand the “west bowl” that’s down the line from my friend Domenic Mosqueira who took the shot.  Dom got cleaned up by a 10 foot bomb and thrown onto the reef later in the day. He’s a really good photographer and helping me find my way around Tahiti. I took the other shots except for the shark lagoon photo – Flickr Firefly242.

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One Response to Pandora Immersion

  1. Will Sooter says:

    Awesome John! Great to hear you talk about your experience surfing Teahupoo. This is what you are supposed to be doing at this time of your life.
    Hoping you get the wave of your life.

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