Ever since my last travel blog post Temae Moorea – Gambling On Tahitian Triple Bowls, Temae has been unpredictable and dangerous with the odd chance of scoring an epic barrel. I’ve been out of the water with a badly bruised knee and groin from slamming onto the reef out there last week. Haven’t been surfing since, but some of my friends have been charging it.
Today a 21 year-old surfer named Heivarii passed away surfing Tamea. Heard from friends that he hit his head on the reef, fracturing his neck. The young local surfer from Moorea died on the beach before paramedics arrived on scene.
I had a chance to slap high-fives with Heivarii while sharing epic Temae with him the day I was injured. He was so nice in the lineup. Everyone is saying he was a great person with a positive attitude. Besides surfing, Heivarii was a talented boxer who was recently crowned one of the boxing champions of Moorea. It’s a tragic loss for not only his family and friends, but for the entire community on Moorea.
The day before Heivarii’s death, my friend Teva Dexter got worked badly at Temae. Teva is a professional surfer from Hawaii who paddled out the other day and locked into a heavy barrel. While he was driving through the pit the wave bottomed-out over a shallow slab of reef, slamming him onto the coral. During the beating he was pushed into an underwater cave before he was able to Houdini himself out, but remained underwater tethered to a coral head by his leash. Luckily for Teva, the leash eventually broke and he was washed onto the dry reef with minor injuries. His board remained underwater for a few minutes before finally emerging to the surface.
Heivarii’s tragic accident, as well as Teva and my lucky breaks, are a reminder of the risks and consequences associated with surfing dangerous waves. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the Heivarii’s family and to all of our fallen friends who have passed away doing what they loved. RIP