Did Last Week's Teahupo'o Swell Under-Deliver? - Stab Mag
Matahi Drollet, definitely not on a six-foot paddle wave.

Did Last Week’s Teahupo’o Swell Under-Deliver?

“There were guys towing six-footers.”

elsewhere // May 4, 2023
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the fundamental principles burned into every aspiring writer’s cerebrum is the importance of the lede. It’s the story’s first sentence or an opening paragraph that is meant to grab and hold the reader’s attention. Ideally, it’s an original thought, statement, or question that establishes the tone and sets up what’s to come. 

I consider the first scene from Nathan Florence’s latest vlog documenting the recent Teahupo’o binge a captivating, albeit somber, lede (job well done, Zoard). You all probably saw Teahupo’o flexing its muscles on April 30 (thanks, Surfline), and it would have been easy for Nathan and Zoard to simply put the reality of the devastating flooding at the end of the video, or even in the caption, and lede with a banger. 

But instead, the video starts with a message and footage revealing the dramatic aftermath of the horrific flash flood that hit the town. You can learn more and donate to relief efforts here

After that, it’s on to the show. Nathan, Ivan Florence and Kipp Caddy snuck out early to get their share (though apparently Shane Ackerman was there first bodyboarding solo?? Legend). Kevin Bourez shot out of a cannon. Kai Lenny towed in and did a flip. Matahi Drollet got barreled so hard that his helmet came off (again). 

Interestingly, Nathan claims the swell under-delivered compared to what was forecasted. No Point Break swell, no Friday the 13th cones. This led to an unusual situation with people towing into completely makeable paddle waves right in front of a crowd. Wild.

“Guys were towing six-footers, crazy,” Nathan recalled. “I’ve come here for so many years and never seen so many very good paddle waves towed. The 10-foot paddle waves, where it’s like, ‘I’m going to push myself over the ledge, I’m going to get a bigger paddle wave,’ they were being towed.” 

Action, tension, drama. The hallmarks of a good story. But please don’t let Teahupo’o become the next Nazaré.


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