A colossal swell rifled into Tahiti yesterday (May 23) with a cast of some of the world's best surfers (the others are over in comparatively flat Keramas...) wrangling a dark blob of classic South Pacific energy at the End of the Road.
And what's not to love about that? A strong mix of the Hawaiian contingent and local Tahitians went toe-to-toe with Teahupoo yesterday. A SSW swell that maxed out at 10.5ft @ 16 secs with gentle offshore winds grooming those heavy cylinders. That is, until the wind kicked up a bit and the rain settled in.
Your cast of protagonists? Put your hands together for; Billy Kemper, Russell Bierke, the prince of Teahupoo Matahi Drollet, Mateia Hiquily, Mr Cape Fear Russell Bierke, Benji Brand, Kiron Jabour and a few more notable entries.
Shooting for MSW was Romuld Pliquet, I ask how the session went: “Rainy,” he says. “But glassy. The light was crazy due to the cloudy sky. Hawaiian and Tahitian surfers in the lineup and more than a few epic bombs were running away before the wind swung.
“Only a few from the tow in crew because this was definitely paddle conditions...just not the biggest sets in the morning. All riders were pretty frustrated to leave the water due to the wind.”
This swell has been at the forefront of the collective surf mind for a number of days. Bags were chucked together, flights booked, everyone scrambled to Tahiti, right as the swell height began to tip into double digits. Max wave height is moot at Chopes, that wave makes a mockery of most wave measurements – a lip a few feet thick and a shape that is more...letter box than almond.
Where to surf: Tahiti
But what conditions does the world's heaviest wave really like? Well, more south in it will calm the beast (slightly) but those straight south westerlys will hit the reef and open up caves along a short and often packed lineup. A reminder, in case you need it, that Teahupoo isn't for mere mortals when it jacks up. This is balls-to-the-wall, wave that could kill you, levels of gnarly. Mistakes are swiftly and brutally punished.
Anyway, this is one of the first proper sessions at Teahupoo this season, a lesser pulse was felt a few weeks back but there was a touch more energy in yesterday's swell. Here's to many more as the South Pacific hits the adrenaline.