Though this Chopes swell won't go down as one of Code Red magnitude, it is still a spectacle when the end of the road starts to jack up. We knew this swell was coming (see here) but even if it was a touch smaller than first anticipated, what went down was a flawless session of not-a-drop-of-water-out-of-place perfection.
Brushed turquoise barrels, exploding over the reef will forever be endlessly captivating. The only thing missing here is Prince of said barrels, Matahi Drollet – though we're informed he's away in Paris filming a commercial for Porsche, so we don't feel too bad for him.
Meanwhile, Keahi de Aboitiz managed to snag a stunning POV shot. “It sure feels good to be back at the end of the road again after making the long journey over from Hawaii,” he said. “It was a slow swell that was a little smaller then expected, but a good direction meant there was a few gems to be had if you had the patience. Stoked to at least find a couple visions and looking forward to seeing what the rest of the trip brings.”
This session in particular played out across Friday of last week, which followed a rather solid session the Sunday before. But this is Chopes getting all warmed up for those critical, knee-knocking days we know it's capable of. “This session was absolutely perfect,” says photographer Romu Pliquet. “No wind, sunny, right direction.
“The line up was really difficult to read for most surfers, with a lot of west bowl peaks and kind of dangerous for non-locals, some discovered the reef.
“The swell peaked overnight on Friday so by sunset, there were some huge bombs going off.”
Romu's all stationed up in Teahupoo, ready for the next swell. As is Keahi and Sage Burke, plus that crew of locals who will take calculated swings at Chopes, at any size.
And how this swell came about? “The swell originated from a low that developed south of the Tasman Sea during the weekend June 26,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. “As the system tracked eastwards early Monday 28, another centre developed east of New Zealand, which tracked around the eastern periphery of the main system, resulting in a powerful complex area of low pressure.
“A huge area of storm-force southerly winds between its western flank and an anticyclone drifting around just west of New Zealand generated a pulse of long-period swell, that arrived in Tahiti on Friday 2nd July and persisted through the weekend. Easterly winds persisted locally, generated off the northwest flank of a high pressure system stationed in the mid-South Pacific.
“At Teahupoo some very long period forerunners arrived late Thursday, but the swell really started filling in on Friday, with wave heights well over six feet by afternoon, periods of around 18 secs and moderate to fresh easterly winds. The swell continued through Saturday before ramping down during Sunday.”