Absurdly thick swell hits The End of the Road, man sets himself on fire mid tube and there’s at least one wipeout which appeared impossible to survive. Welcome to the
circus Teahupoo in 2015.
"Niccolo Porcella's wipeout was so scary,” says Raihei Tapeta of a moment now inked into his memory. “The swell has too much west in it to be ideal and that's why we saw a lot of the wipeouts. I would say the biggest sets were larger than the Point Break filming session last year.”
Of the wipeout itself, Niccolo said, "It was definitely the most violent and intense experience of my life. I really feel that all the hard training and my loyal angels came together." Not one to be deterred by such a minor matter, Niccolo returned to the fray. "I spat blood a few times and had a little headache for a few minutes and went straight back out to catch a bigger heavier bomb. Now I just have a slightly stiff neck, back, and a few reef kisses, I should be back in the water by tomorrow, maybe Saturday."
Also vying for most memorable moment was Keala Kennelly who dropped deep into the bowels of the beast.
That thing swallowed me faster than a Tijuana prostitute.
"I thought I had a good line and was gonna pull it," she posted on Instagram. "Then the thing went mutant. The west bowl bent at a 45 degree angle at me right as the bottom dropped out and that thing swallowed me faster than a Tijuana prostitute.”
Bear in mind Keala left a good portion of her face on the reef back in 2011, she knows how it feels for everything to go tits up at Teahupoo.
To be honest I was expecting a supzilla or maybe a motorcycle in the tube.
The third moment worth a mention was the whole setting yourself on fire in the barrel thing with Jamie O’Brien. With flames licking around his face he was undoubtedly referencing Bruce’s exploits from all those years ago plus a healthy dash of escalation.
“He's with Raimana filming a Red Bull project and to be honest I was expecting a supzilla or maybe straddling a motorcycle in the tube,” continued Raihei.
Where do you go from here? Dodging live mines? Or perhaps having open heart surgery in the tube? Answers on postcard.