MOTHER Ocean, the madding crowd and the reef at Teahupoo conspired to create a day of vivid contrasts for Alain Riou. Commencing with disaster and ending up in triumph it was hard for him to feel much joy in the circumstances.
"I caught the biggest wave of my life today" Alain told us. Normally cause for wild celebration, but not today. "Earlier that morning my friend Sancho ate shit and I picked him up unconscious and bleeding. It freaked me out and put me in a weird vibe all day. The good news is that I was in hospital with him this evening and he is sweet, just a few stitches.
It was heavy trying to get him on the ski. He was unanimated, eyes rolled back, blood everywhere. Alain Riou
"It was heavy trying to get him on the ski. He was unanimated, eyes rolled back, blood everywhere. I was pretty proud of my pick-up and how I kept my calm in that situation, but fuck it was heavy. I think we were all more scared about it than he was."
The lineup for this swell has been congested to say the least, a big event, hyped-up by unprecedented online frothing ended-up with blood in the water.
"I towed him too deep because of the crowd." said Alain "We had been waiting a long time for that wave and as we headed in another ski got on our way, I had to slow down and go around it and we ended up too deep despite going full throttle."
"I only caught two waves which Dingo Morrison drove me on. I then tried to whip him in a few, but I had a hard time dealing with the crowd and was scared to put him in a bad spot like I did with Sancho. So I gave him my ski and chilled for the rest of the day. Today was different but really solid still. Not as frequent as yesterday, which made the hassle in the jet-ski lineup harder - and damn it was big."
When asked if he thought it was dangerously crowded Alain replied: "So dangerous and stressful. Too many people that wanted too many waves - there were no turns being taken out there. It was a full-on dog fight sometimes. I wasn't there for Code Red and I haven't been back for a big swell in a few years, but yes, I don't think it's ever been that busy.
Surgery, 50 stitches, one broken finger and a separated freulum (the part that attaches your lip to your teeth). My lip was stuck under my chin.Makua Rothman
On Monday Garrett McNamara (who flew out that night) prophetically told us: "Thank God there were no serious injuries. The channel was madness with boats running into each other, almost getting sucked over and people flying off boats scratching for their lives. Some very very close calls!" The worst incident was some people getting dumped in the water after their boat driver tried to high jump the lip and the only casualty being a primo RED camera and pride.
Tuesday, May 14th, was a different story for another surfer. Makua Rothman posted on Instagram that he suffered: "Surgery, 50 stitches, one broken finger and a separated freulum (the part that attaches your lip to your teeth). My lip was stuck under my chin. Happy to be alive and have my face back in one piece."
Catch up with the perfection of day one HERE
And if you're wondering what this swell will do elsewhere? Particularly the South Shore of Hawaii click HERE