ADD TO DESTINATION LIST: TEAHUPO’O, TAHITI

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Teahupo’o (read as Cho-po) is a village on the south-west coast of the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, southern Pacific Ocean, known for the surf break and heavy, glassy waves offshore, often reaching 6.6 to 9.8 ft, and sometimes up to 23 feet. The village is the site of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surf competition, part of the World Championship Tour (WCT) of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour surfing circuit and used to be one stop in the World Tour of the International Bodyboarding Association. Bodyboarding pioneers Mike Stewart and Ben Severson were the first to surf Teahupo’o in 1986 and it soon became an underground spot for thrill-seeking bodyboarders. Few professional surfers rode Teahupo’o during the early 1990s and it was only in 1998, at the Gotcha Tahiti Pro, that Teahupo’o became widely recognized as having some of the heaviest waves in the world. On August 17, 2000 Laird Hamilton is credited with surfing the “heaviest wave” ever ridden, documented in the film Riding Giants. In 2003 the late Malik Joyeux successfully rode one of the largest waves ever ridden.



On October 31, 2008 surfer Ian Walsh towed the biggest Teahupo’o wave of the season. Video footage of this ride was later used in a Red Bull energy drink ad campaign seen around the world.

Keala Kennelly was the first woman to tow-surf Teahupo’o in May 2005, getting a 10-foot barrel ahead of the Billabong Tahiti Pro contest.

This challenging break has been conquered by many top windsurfers, including Jason Polakow and Levi Siver. Yannick Salmon was the first kitesurfer to ride Teahupo’o, however, it was incorrectly written in publications that others had ridden it before him. Jeremie Eloy and Julien Sudrat kitesurfed the wave after Yannick.

Filmed by Eric Sterman & Brent Bielmann.

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