Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere is when swell trains wake from their summer slumber and start to roll out of the Southern Ocean. According to Surfline guru Nick Carroll, this body of water is “the world’s greatest swell machine”. Building up steam and whipped by strong winds these southern swells don’t stop until they hit land, or in the case of Teahupo’o in Tahiti, a shallow reef shelf that rears rapidly from a deep seafloor, creating some of the world’s wildest waves in the process.
As if on cue, in the last weekend of April 2023, Teahupo’o received its first serious serving of swell for the year. The world’s big wave fraternity, who have been forced to live life like regular civilians these past few months as the Atlantic and the North Pacific seasons have slowly simmered down, came from all corners to spill out of Faa’a International Airport in Papeete and and join the convoy down to a small fishing village at the end of the road on the southern tip of Tahiti’s biggest island, Teahupo’o.
While Surfline predicted the enormous swell that hit on Sunday April 29, nobody could have forecast what else was to unfold over the following 48 hours beyond the usual suspects – Kai Lenny, Lucas Chumbo, Matahi Drollet – doing their usual thing. Summa Longbottom and Annie Dos Santos upped the ante and took the female big wave game to new heights, Eimeo Czermak and Tucker Wooding broke the internet with a hall of fame drone clip that needs to be seen to be believed, and paddle and tow surfers co-existed in the same lineup like we’ve never before. Sadly, Teahupo’o also flooded in the aftermath, and once you enjoy the clip above we hope you will contribute to the various appeals that are aiming to give back to a Tahitian town that has given surfing so much, in its greatest hour of need.
Help with Teahupo’o recovery efforts: https://win.gs/3nrZlft
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