Tahiti’s About To Hawk Tuah On Some Olympians - Stab Mag

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The swell set to arrive in the coming days shares many features with the one that hit Tahiti back in August 27, 2011 -- aka the 'Code Red' swell. Coco Nogales under the fold back in 2015, photo from Red Bull Content Pool.

Tahiti’s About To Hawk Tuah On Some Olympians

Teetering on tow-only, will the next swell to hit Teahupo’o sink athletes’ hopes of getting reps in pre-contest?

Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Learn everything you need to know about the 2024 surfing Olympics here.

Slated to run between the 27th July – 5th August, the Olympic surfing event is set to become the crescendo moment of non-swimming-pool-related contest surfing this year. 

With names in the draw including: John Florence, Gabriel Medina, Jack Robinson Vahine Fierro, Molly Picklum and more, there’s no shortage of shallow-water samurais adept at handling Teahupo’o at its least merciful.

The same cannot be said of other Olympic competitors, like the lone 14-year-old representative of China, Siqi Yang, and others who earned a spot via the ISA’s Pepe-Silvia-inspired qualification matrix. Fortunately for those less experienced at Teahupo’o, they have been given designated time slots to practice surfing the shallow left reef pass, unmolested by locals, for six days before the event runs.  

That is, if it permits… 

Purple blob sourced from Swellnet, scheduled to arrive this Wednesday local time.

Swellnet have compared the incoming Tahiti swell to “the infamous Code Red swell from 13 years ago” due to its shared features of strong winds, polar frontal systems and a Long Wave Trough (LWT) developing to the southeast of New Zealand.

In Craig Brokensha’s words, “It will create a spectacle only witnessed every few years”, with waves breaking in the “15 foot+ range — or five to six times overhead — and most definitely tow only.”

Trailing that is a series of days in the 3-4ft range more suitable for some ‘end of road’ onboarding. 

As Head Coach of the US Olympic surf team, Shane Dorian duly noted, “Teahupo’o is an intimidating wave, even for experienced surfers. There’s a lot of women and men on the CT who probably feel like they’re about to meet their maker when they’re in a heat out there and the waves are big.” 

The question I have is — given these guys and gals are about to surf in an event that could define their careers and elevate them to the promised lands of eternal Olympic glory, well-paid corporate speaking fixtures, autobiographies and so on — will anyone shrug sensibility, wax up the Longbottom and strap in to some Olympic-sized cathedrals? 

It would sure be ‘core’.

Learn everything you need to know about the 2024 surfing Olympics here.

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