Sunday, July 6, 2008


Teahupoo (CHO-po) in Tahiti is the thickest wave in the world, surpassing Peahi (Jaws) on the scale of deathly. The reef is only six feet deep, but drops to 2,000 feet only a hundred yards out past the break. Combine that with waves rushing in at 60 miles an hour -- just the lip itself is ten feet thick. Sharp jaggeddy coral is right underneath the break. And ocean water is 64 pounds per cubic foot.

Although it is the heaviest wave, I never really grasped the magnitude of that title until I saw this series of helicopter shots at Tim McKenna's amazing website. Here's Laird looking (for the first time ever) really tiny in all that skull-crushing thickness.

McKenna's website also shows some sick shots taken inside the wave by two surfers talented enough to hold the waterproof housing behind them and shoot photos while pitted, so pitted. Yikes. And in case you're curious, the bottom illustration by an unknown artist shows why Teahupoo breaks with such force. The dropoff is what makes it so fiesty.

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