This might be one of the most talked about, feared, and awed wave in the world, right up there with Pipeline in Hawaii. Ever since footage of Laird Hamilton towing this monster came out, surfer’s jaws have been hitting the floor in amazement. Teahupoo is found at the end of the road on Tahiti Iti, remote and beautiful, but when a SW swell is in the water the beast awakens. What makes this wave perhaps the heaviest in the world is not the height, but the sheer mass of water that puts energy behind the wave. Once it hits triple overhead, it stops getting taller, and just keeps getting thicker. The nature of the bathymetry (bottom of the ocean) here makes the water in front of the wave suck out hard, so you end up surfing way below sea level. Behind the wave there doesn’t even seem to be a rise in the water, the entire weight of the Pacific Ocean will be bearing down on you if you are unlucky enough to eat it. The left hand barrel is short, about 50 to 100 meters, but due to the power of the wave it throws out in an almost rectangular shape, much farther out than it is tall. To make the drop you’ll be taking off under the lip when bigger, with no chance to bail out (trying will get you a one way ticket over the falls, downright deadly). Beyond a certain power, it is not paddleable, although pros continue to risk it all to push the limit out here. The appeal is one of the most perfect barrels in the world when it is on and a bit smaller, and one of the most intense and heavy rides when the size picks up. The coral reef is dangerously shallow and famed for giving infected cuts. To surf here when over double overhead you must be a pro, when smaller even intermediates can sample the perfect barrels. If it is out of your league please stay in the channel and watch from the boats, seeing these walls of water detonate is itself an incredible sight to behold.
What are the best surf conditions for Teahupoo?
Gets good between chest high and tow in size. A shortboard will do until it hits a bit overhead, then a step up until it isn’t paddleable (anything longer will hurt more than help), then a tow board. This break is suitable for intermediate to pro level surfers. The surf here is somewhat consistent and pulls in more size than the rest of Tahiti (6/10). It will get very crowded nowadays (9/10). The ideal wind is a Northeast. The best swells are from the South or Southwest. Works on all tides.
We recommend wearing boardshorts or a bikini year round. Water temperatures range between 26 and 29. See the temperature chart below for more data on this.