Teahupoo Surfing

Teahupoo Surfing

Tahiti, French Polynesia

If there is a god, he, she or it, was very angry the day Teahupoo was created. Teahupoo (pronounced cho poo) is an absolute monster of a wave. Deep Southern Ocean swells travel the length of the Pacific Ocean unhindered in their passage until they meet the waist deep coral reef off Tahiti. Upon arrival they suck the ocean from the reef, lurch into a wave with a hideously thick lip and an oddly rectangular shaped cavern that defines the phrase death pit. This is Teahupoo.

Teahupoo is a left, breaking over coral. There is no shoulder hopping or safe way to ride Chope’s. It requires absolute commitment. Positioning for the take-off is under the pitching lip. Bottom turning is not recommended. Getting a rail in the face and holding on for the ride, is the way to make it out alive.

Teahupoo will break on anything from a south to westerly swell and with such an open swell window is very consistent. The ideal wind is from the northeast. When Chope’s is under 6ft, it’s manageable and any experienced surfer, familiar with reef breaks and in good shape, can snag themselves a perfect Tahitian barrel. Over this size Teahupoo transmogrifies into the aquatic incarnation of evil that we have all seen in the magazines, but this is no reason to stay home.

Witnessing the beastliness and utter power of Mother Nature from the safety of a boat in the channel is a spellbinding experience, every surfer can appreciate and will no doubt remember for years. Also, the river mouth near the village of Teahupoo has some fun and playful waves.

The small fishing village of Teahupoo is at the end of the road in the southwest extreme of the island of Tahiti. A short boat ride or a half hour paddle out to sea will bring you to a passage through the fringing reef. The beast lies to the left of the passage.

(Image from Wikipedia)

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