Teahupoo Warmup

(Teahupoo, Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia)

There’s been more than one occasion when we’ve sat back, took a deep breath, and acknowledged that the dream has been realized. Gregory had his religious experience at P-Lan in Panama where Oceanna was anchored off the back of a small remote island, while he caught epic waves within sight of whale in front. And I, already lucky enough to be sharing in this amazing dream, couldn’t help but feel fulfilled spending Christmas day with my entire family floating on Oceanna in the brilliant blue waters of Costa Rica. And today, another moment was added to that growing list titled Dream Achieved.

Back when Gregory was travelling through Australia he met many people who planted the sailing bug in his brain, though it wasn’t until he met some young surfers living on their boat off the world-renowned Fiji surf wave, Cloud Break, that the dream hit its true tipping point.

So today when Oceanna brought Gregory to have world-class waves under his two feet the dream was real. With Oceanna anchored at a safe distance, Gregory got barreled in the legendary surf break Teahupoo. Gregory, Josh, Tab, and Adam behind the lens, had gone out first thing in the morning to catch the wave before the forecasted swell grew too large. The locals were stoked, the sets were pumping, and to top it off a couple of humpback whales swung by 100 feet from the lineup to say Good Morning to the boys. Today, without a doubt, goes up on the board.

Throughout the day the swell grew and the lineup changed accordingly. The intimidated cruisers took to their dinghies to watch the show, as the confident locales and pros tackled the big beast. And what a beast it was!

It’s hard to find the words to describe the immense power of Teahupoo. Sitting on the shoulder… in a dinghy… with a 30hp engine, is heart stopping enough. I can’t imagine the rush the surfers feel sitting in the pocket and paddling into the peak. Actually I’m pretty sure they all just have a handful of screws loose in their heads because that shit is crazy! The massive amount of water that picks up, curls over, and comes crashing down on the reef is frightening. The thundering sound that reached us was loud to say the least. I now believe the serene-sunburst, angelic barrel moment that epitomizes any surf movie is a complete sham. It must be a lot more akin to standing in a thundercloud with a freight train chasing you down. And if you could manage to tear your eyes away from the powerful, curling wave, the sight of the quickly, draining reef was equally impressive. As the wave picked up to barrel over, it drew all that water off the reef. What might have been 10 feet of water on the reef quickly and breathtakingly dropped to something more like 2 feet as the monster was fed. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the sheer amount of water moving to create this surfer’s paradise was absolutely mind-boggling.

We spent hours buzzing around in the dinghy jockeying for a safe and advantageous viewpoint to take in the show. The waves just kept coming and the excitement never went away.

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Tahiti-iti in the morning light as seen from the back of the break.

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These photos are compliments of our buddy Adam Garcia who went out to shoot the boys this morning. Hence his toes.

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The whales that came to say good morning.

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The boys sitting in the lineup watching the whales.

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In this shot you can see the tower that’s constructed each year for judges of the Billabong Pro.

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Headed back out to the break to watch the show.

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In land.

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I made Gregory do this. He’s still upset about it. Ha.

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Out at the break admiring the water-going vessels.

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Watching the show.

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Gregory making friends with this little grom from California. He surfed for Hurley.

3 comments

  1. OMG, wow what an experience!

  2. Love the staged shot Kaycee–in years Gregory will appreciate it!!(ha ha)

    1. Oh I know he will, but he’ll still give me grief and pretend he doesn’t! I’m okay with that though.

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