Teahupoo’s been epic but the crowd’s been intense, so I gambled against the wind forecast and took the first ferry from Tahiti to Moorea early the second morning of the swell.
It’s never easy leaving a spot you know is perfect, but seeing that everyone was at Teahupoo, figured I’d have a good chance of scoring one of my dream waves called Temae, with very few guys in the lineup.
Attempted to surf Temae a handful of times during three long stints in Tahiti, but have never been able due to unfavorable conditions. This only pushed my intrigue and determination further.
As soon as the ferry landed, I peeled off the boat in our Ford Fiesta (joined by our friend Francois in a separate car), and jammed to the spot. Having zero expectations of scoring (it’s one of the most fickle epic waves in the world, needing a steep swell direction and rare wind), I was just hoping the to get in the water and catch some uncrowded waves.
Couldn’t believe my eyes when we finally got to the beach – it was on. Head-high, clean and hollow. Got suited-up in my short-john as quickly as possible (couldn’t find my trunks), stumbled over rocks and reef to get through the narrow paddle-out keyhole, and was in the lineup within minutes.
Started the session with a quick one-bowl pocket ride and was already psyched. As the sun rose above the main island of Tahiti, the surf gradually began to build, and the wind went from glassy to light offshore.
There were only three guys out for the first hour, and the lineup never saw more than 7, all sharing a perfect growing swell, slapping high-fives after 300 yard triple barrels.
Took this sequence of a local Tahitian during a quick water and sunscreen break. He has fluid style and is respected as one of the best by everyone in the water. Here he is linking the second and third bowl. He made all three barrels on most of his waves, including this one.
Was so stoked to be in position for one biggest waves of the day. It was a swing-wide that doubled up over a really shallow section of reef toward the end of the line called the “hospital bowl.” Ended up getting locked into the pit as it drained all the water off the reef. I somehow managed to make it out of the tube without knocking the fins out of my board before the whole thing gurgled up and slammed me on the dry slab.
Smashed my groin on a coral head and bruised my knee while I was protecting my face from a forceful headbutt. The wipeout put an end to the epic session shortly before the wind went onshore. Thankfully I wasn’t able to find my trunks that morning – pretty sure the wetsuit saved me from serious groin damage.
Don’t have a photo of that wave, but this is a little one I took of the “hospital bowl” section to give you an idea of how hollow and shallow it gets. Can’t even bottom-turn down there.
Stoked on the wetsuit and to finally have an amazing session at Temae.
Click to enlarge photos.