Spent 8 hours surfing Teahupoo while the “swell of the year” slowly filled in. Wind and swell direction were absolutely perfect, but the crowd was ridiculously thick.
Teahupoo’s lineup was stacked with some of the worlds best professionals who flew in for the swell, including alpha male Laird Hamilton (complete with three boat entourage), who was claiming a bomb out of every set. But, it was the young Tahitians who really took charge throughout the entire swell. Tahitians were pushing each-other over the ledge of the biggest drainers. Was great to watch them take charge of their local wave, claiming the best waves that visiting pros are accustom to snagging during their 2 day strike missions, but the locals made it tough for an underground guy who camps out at Teahupoo for 4 months a year using the entirety of construction and lifeguard savings to get the rush.
Luckily during the first day of the swell I still managed to pluck 8 or 10 waves out of the stacked pack, and was stoked on each of them – even the ones I got worked on. Feels so good to get real barrels again!
One of the only non-Tahitian surfers to score set waves was my friend Ryan Gallina, who moved to Tahiti years ago, and is engaged to a sweet Tahitian girl who just had is baby. Ryan recently transitioned from pro bodyboarding, and rushes Teahupoo just as hard as any surfer in the world.
One of the biggest waves Ryan caught locked him in the barrel for so long he ran into the giant close-out right section (one of the most dangerous places to be in the surfing world). Luckily there wasn’t a bunch of waves behind it, being that he broke his leash and was drifting toward the dry reef triple-up.
Ryan and the rest of the underground chargers who moved to Tahiti for the love of Teahupoo took me under their wing and have helped me out huge in the islands.
This swell was hands-down the most perfect and crowded Teahupoo I’ve ever surfed. Getting dropped-in-on is the last thing you want to worry about when you’re packing sub-sea level pits, but it was happening every few waves – enough so that I was over surfing Teahupoo the second day of the swell, and instead gambled on scoring a wave I’ve always dreamed of surfing on a neighboring island.
Haven’t looked for any photos taken of me at Teahupoo during the first day of the swell, but sure these pictures are much better than anything of my shots. It looks much easier than it is…
Click here to check out the full Surfline feature on the swell.
Photos Courtesy: Tim McKenna, Tom Carey, and Surfline