A lone tombstone, Teahupoo, Tahiti
It came up overnight. The first boats pulled up at first light, looking into a six-to-eight foot swell, begging to be paddled. By lunchtime, things at Teahupoo were a little different. “There were some nuggets,” says photog Dom Mosqueira, who was swimming in the channel with his water housing. “There were some nuts ones. Guys […]
It came up overnight. The first boats pulled up at first light, looking into a six-to-eight foot swell, begging to be paddled. By lunchtime, things at Teahupoo were a little different.
“There were some nuggets,” says photog Dom Mosqueira, who was swimming in the channel with his water housing. “There were some nuts ones. Guys were paddling this morning ’cause it started off smaller, earlier. But by midday or one o’clock, everyone had stopped paddling. I mean, there were a few guys still trying to paddle, ’cause everyone wants to get a huge paddle wave. But it got so big that the towing took over in the end. There were some ridiculous bombs.”
And, how big did it get? “There were some 20-footers,” continues Dom. “Not many, but some f’sure. It was huge. Raimana Van Bastolaer got a retarded one, he was dominating early. He got one of the day’s biggest waves. Then, Koa Rothman’s wave was the best one I saw all day. He got towed in by Laird (Hamilton), and that thing just jacked up. It was ridiculous.”
Boats were almost going over the ledge. One of them, recalls Dom, went up vertically over a shoulder, slammed back down and lost video guys off the back. “It was mayhem. Boats knocking into each other, pretty gnarly.”
So, any dustings for the swimming photog? “I was shooting 50mm, just from the corner of the wave,” says Dom.
“But even doing that, I had to swim under a few of them. Nothing critical. The bigger danger was all the boats trying to race around the shoulder. I got hit by one. Nothing major, it was just trying to speed away.”
So, were there west bowls in the mix? “It was a little more south. There were a few of those waves with a gnarly west bowl, like Raimana’s and Koa’s, but a lot of them just stayed wide open anyway. Koa came by on the ski afterwards, after he’d just been picked up, and he was just like, ‘oh… my… god.’ He was giving me that I-can’t-believe-this look. He was more baffled than anything.”
The crew in the water included Raimana Van Bastolaer, Shane Dorian, Alex Gray, Mark Mathews, Ryan Hipwood, Dean Morrison, Laurie Towner, Wade Goodall, Dean Bowen, Mikey Wright, Kamalei Alexander, Mark Healey, Makua Rothman, Koa Rothman, Nathan Florence, Eli Olson, Laird Hamilton, Nathan Fletcher, Garrett McNamara, Kohl Christensen, and more.
It’s gonna peak overnight, but tomorrow, according to the forecasts, it’ll be just as big as today. “The team that was on it today are all straight on it again tomorrow,” says Dom. “Especially since there was so many guys on it today. Sometimes you’d have two skis towing into the same wave and one team would have to pull out. So, not everyone got the waves they wanted and I’m sure they’ll frothing for more tomorrow.”
So, stayed tuned for that, huh. – Elliot Struck
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