Tahitian Government "Pauses" Construction Of Teahupo'o Tower After Mass Backlash - Stab Mag

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After numerous protests and a now-notorious barge incident, the Tahitian government has decided to pause construction on the new tower for Paris 2024. Photo: Ryan "Chachi" Craig

Tahitian Government “Pauses” Construction Of Teahupo’o Tower After Mass Backlash

A positive case of “Stick-it-to-the-man-eosis”.

news // Dec 6, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 2 minutes

An hour ago, the ISA (International Surfing Association) said the following as part of an official statement regarding the proposed new tower and barge incident that occurred a few days ago:

“The ISA was saddened and surprised to see that a test undertaken by the French Polynesian government resulted in the coral reef at Teahupo’o being damaged by a barge…”

“The determination that the old judging tower was not legally compliant was taken by the government of French Polynesia. As a result, the French Polynesian government and Paris 2024 decided to build a new tower…”

The French Polynesian government has taken the decision to pause all further testing and preparations to draw lessons following the incident on the reef. The ISA welcomes this decision, and has urged intensified consultations to consider all available options.

The “test” that the ISA is referring to here is an alleged ‘expert’ study of the current wooden judging tower that has served surf competitions for 20 years. The Tahitian government and Paris 2024 insisted that the test’s conclusions deemed the tower unfit to continue operating and must be replaced for competitions to continue running.

When locals demanded that the test be shown to them and sent in “hundreds” of requests to be sent copies, they were told that the test results could not be shared.

Then, construction workers who built the existing tower twenty years ago testified on video that the foundations are still intact and that all technical specifications for safety were, and still are, met.

Locals proceeded to stage numerous protests (on land and in the water) demanding that the new tower — with its proposed twelve new foundations, new toilets, fifty-six drill holes, and air-conditioning — not be built and that the Paris 2024 Olympics find a way to utilize the existing tower.

Finally, when Paris 2024 and the Tahitian government sent a barge out to the reef to conduct a construction “pre-test” 3 days ago, the barge ran aground on the reef, damaging the coral and enraging locals who circled the barge on jetskis, filming and then sharing the incident on social media which then enraged the whole surfing world.

So, while the ISA statement above is a little opaque and we do not yet know what the next steps for the judging tower are going to be, it’s a positive development in the story and a win for surfers, conservationists, and people who just like “sticking it to the man”.


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