Stab Magazine | How (Not) To: Duckdive Teahupo'o

How (Not) To: Duckdive Teahupo’o

Kerby Brown gets tubed under two flailing men and one thick lip. 

cinema // Nov 14, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fun fact, you can’t duckdive a proper set at Teahupo’o – see above.  

That little French Polynesian Island has been on the receiving end of a few black and purple blobs over the last month or so. A little late for the typical Tahitian season, but a welcomed treat from those who rely on their annual End of the Road belting. 

Kerby Brown is one of those people. And ensured that he was sitting on the back of a ski at the most recent swell. 

Armed with a rope and straps, it’s a rare instance that Kerby lets go and doesn’t pop out unscathed. And while the above clip doesn’t capture his escape, this wave was no different. 

“Yeah I made the wave.” Kerby told Stab. I could see that the west bowl was coming down the line and it bent right around on me toward the end.

“I could feel there was a decent foam ball coming up next to me, I couldn’t really see coming out from the spit but I managed to just hold on and get off the back into the channel.”

The wave is worthy of a post by its own merit. But as you’ve likely gathered, there was something – two things to be precise – that set this single wave apart. 

“I could see guys scratching to get over it down the line but I was more focused on the wave ahead of me.” Kerby continued. “It all happened pretty quick. It wasn’t until after I got in that I heard that happened. Turns out one of the guys was an Aussie lad, Billy Kean, who was actually on my flight over there. 

“There is so much water in them and they have no back [those waves]. You don’t have much of a chance with a duck dive really. Getting sucked back on a set is probably one of the most dangerous situations to be in.”

While we’ve been told the screams over the audio are celebrations from the channel, it’s no hard to imagine those muffled roars leaving the gasping lungs of the two poor men who were sold in this Tahitian yard sale. 

We’ve all felt what it’s like to surface a little too early and go over the falls, but it’s different when you and the lip combine for a holy matrimony on a tow-set at Teahupo’o.  

So, if you ever go there, try your best not be where these two blokes were when a set rolls through. Alternatively, you can ask John Florence for some tips on his pool length duckdive.

Good luck!


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