16-Year-Old Gilbert Teave Tried to Paddle A Tow Wave
It does not end well.
Last week, pressure variants off the New Zealand coast produced purple-hearted swells that made their way to Tahiti, resulting in four days of exceptional surf.
Surfline, who were somehow tipped off to the swell’s arrival, were onsite to capture all the glory and carnage that would unfold. With double- to triple-overhead sets and fluctuating tradewinds, these swells were not a walk in the park for the average surfer, but any hero stood a chance at packing the wave of their life — a feat many attempted but few achieved.
16-year-old Gilbert Teave, who photog Tim McKenna dubbed “the next prince of Teahupoo”, stroked into a flawless 10-foot pit and grabbed his rail to find a clean exit. Unfortunately, his second attempt was not so fruitful. A 12-foot set (that was clearly designed for PWC assistance) devoured Gilbert whole after he caught his front rail on the takeoff. The teenager ended up in the hospital after pinballing off the reef with seemingly every body part. Gilbert’s most recent Instagram post is sobering, but it indicates that this beast of a child will be back to hunting monsters soon.
Even beyond Gilbert, locals held down the highlight reel. Matahi Drollet made the deepest paddle wave (by far), and after packing one of the sets of the day, Raimana Van Bastolaer (long-time local and a pioneer of towsurfing ) told Surfline, “I’ve been waiting for this wave since 2014. I got hurt then really bad — my back. Having this wave, I’m sharing with all the Polynesians…it’s all for us.’
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