—  Village  —
Kite surfing in Teahupo'o
Teahupo'o is located in Tahiti
Location in Tahiti
Coordinates: 17°50′50″S 149°16′2″W / 17.84722°S 149.26722°W / -17.84722; -149.26722Coordinates: 17°50′50″S 149°16′2″W / 17.84722°S 149.26722°W / -17.84722; -149.26722
Country France
French Polynesia
Commune Taiarapu-Ouest
District Teahupo'o
Time zone French Polynesia Time (UTC-11)

Teahupoʻo is a village on the south-west coast of the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, southern Pacific Ocean.[1] It is known for the surf break and heavy, glassy waves offshore, often reaching 2 to 3 m (7 to 10 ft) and up to 70 feet. It is the site of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surf competition, part of the World Championship Tour (WCT) of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour surfing circuit and used to be one stop in the World Tour of the International Bodyboarding Association.[2]

Bodyboarding pioneers Mike Stewart and Ben Severson were the first to surf Teahupo'o in 1986 and it soon became an underground spot for thrill-seeking bodyboarders. Few professional surfers rode Teahupo'o during the early 1990s and it was only in 1998, at the Gotcha Tahiti Pro, that Teahupo'o became widely recognized as having some of the heaviest waves in the world. On August 17, 2000 Laird Hamilton is credited with surfing the "heaviest wave" ever ridden,[1] documented in the film Riding Giants. In 2003 the late Malik Joyeux successfully rode one of the largest waves ever ridden.

On October 31, 2008 surfer Ian Walsh towed the biggest Teahupoʻo wave of the season. Video footage of this ride was later used in a Red Bull energy drink ad campaign seen around the world.

Keala Kennelly was the first woman to tow-surf Teahupo'o in May 2005, getting a 10-foot barrel ahead of the Billabong Tahiti Pro contest.[3]

This challenging break has been conquered by many top windsurfers, including Jason Polakow and Levi Siver. Jeremie Eloy, Julien Sudrat and Yannick Salmon were the first kitesurfers to ride Teahupo'o on September 14, 2006.


Wave Characteristics

Teahupo'o is a reef break. The swells mainly break left, but the outer reef also creates right breaks that surfers must be cautious of when paddling out. Teahupo'o is also renowned for the consistent number of barrels it delivers. It is a rewarding location and is widely regarded as being on the 'must-surf' list of every enthusiastic surfer. However, only experienced surfers in peak physical condition should attempt Teahupo'o; heavy waves combined with a shallow shoreline can result in serious injuries and even death in a wipeout.

Teahupo'o's legendary reputation for wave riding is partly due to its unique form. An extremely shallow coral reef, which ranges up to 20 inches beneath the waters surface, is responsible for a very hollow-breaking wave.[4] The wave's unique shape, with an effect of almost breaking below sea level, is due to the specific shape of the reef beneath the wave. It's semi circular nature, which drops down sharply creates a 'below water' effect and the extreme angles in descent create an instant instability to the wave. A steep wall of reef causes the entire mass to fold onto a scalloped semi circle breaking arc. [5] The wave bends and races along into a dry reef closeout and the lip of the wave is often as thick as it is tall.[1]

Deaths at Teahupo'o

Teahupo'o was included on Transworld Surf's list of the' Top 10 Deadliest Waves' and is commonly referred to as the "heaviest wave in the world".[6][1] The name 'Teahupo'o' loosely translates to English as “to sever the head” or "place of skulls".[6][7]

There have been 5 recorded deaths at Teahupo'o since 2000.[8] Most notably was local Tahitian surfer Briece Taerea who was killed at Teahupo'o in 2000, just one week before the annual Teahupo'o WCT event [1] Taerea attempted to duck-dive a dangerous 12-foot wave but was thrown over the falls, landing head first onto the reef. He was recovered from the water, but died later in hospital, suffering from two broken neck bones, a broken spine and paralysis from the neck down.[9]

Teahupo'o ASP World Tour Event Champions



  1. ^ a b c d e Jason Borte (January 2001). "Teahupoo History". Surfing A-Z web site. http://www.surfline.com/surfaz/surfaz.cfm?id=925. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ "ASP World Tour". official web site. Association of Surfing Professionals. http://www.aspworldtour.com. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ Tracks magazine, August 2005, ISSN 1032-3317.
  4. ^ "Tahitian Dreams". Red Bull TV. http://www.redbull.tv/Surf-Chronicles/Surf-Chronicles-s01e08. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Teahupoo - Anatomy Of A Monster". SurfingAtlas.com. http://www.surfingatlas.com/articles/teahupoo_anatomy_of_a_monster. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Brower, Ryan (2008). "The Top 10 Deadliest Waves". 
  7. ^ "Local Knowledge - Billabong Pro Tahiti". Billabong Pro. 2011. http://billabongpro.com/tahiti11/news-article-gb/local-knowledge. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  8. ^ McDonald, Margie (16 August 2010). "Teahupoo hopefuls faced with huge swell". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/teahupoo-hopefuls-faced-with-huge-swell/story-e6frg7mf-1225905935048. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Surfing Archived Stories". http://www.stonecoldcyber.com/davidthatcher/archive.html. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Teahupo'o — Como puede verse en la imagen, Teahupo o se encuentra al sur este de la isla de Tahití. Teahupo o es el nombre de una famosa ola tahitiana que, a su vez, es el nombre de un poblado y zona de la isla de Tahití, Polinesia francesa. Origen El nombre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Teahupoo — Teahupo o (or Chopes as it is sometimes called) is a deadly reef break. It is mainly left breaking, but the outer reef also creates right breaks that surfers must be cautious of when paddling out. Teahupo o is also renowned for the consistent… …   Wikipedia

  • Surfing — This article is about stand up ocean surfing. For other uses, see Surfing (disambiguation). A surfer performing a late drop …   Wikipedia

  • Laird Hamilton — (born Laird John Zerfas on March 2, 1964 in San Francisco) is an American big wave surfer, co inventor of tow in surfing, watersports celebrity enthusiast, television personality, commercial product endorser and spokesperson, recent… …   Wikipedia

  • Temporadas ASP WCT — El World Championship Tour del ASP World Tour consta de eventos móviles y eventos fijos. Los eventos móviles pueden varíar cada año o no, como los eventos en Gold Coast (Australia), Bells Beach (Australia), Tavarua (Fiji), Chiba (Japón), South… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tahiti — is famous for black sand beaches. Geography …   Wikipedia

  • Tahiti — Image satellite de Tahiti. Géographie Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Surfboard — For other meanings see Surfboard (disambiguation). A stack of boards in Waikiki during a surf competition …   Wikipedia

  • Windsurfing — A windsurfer tilts the rig and carves the board to perform a planing jibe (downwind turn) close to shore at Maui, Hawaii …   Wikipedia

  • Shark attack — For the film, see Shark Attack (film). Shark attack Classification and external resources A sign warning about the presence of sharks off Salt Rock, South Africa …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.