hush…. don’t breath… don’t be afraid… you are safe behind your screen.
When Koa Rothman was towed into this wave at Teahupo’o, it would have been no great shock if he hadn’t lived through it. It was as if the entirety of the earth’s water was set on devouring him…. that says something for the ferocity of his wave at a place known for a wave that has annihilated every great surfer on the planet that has dropped in at least once, if not more. For the ones who make it down the face, into the barrel, and get spit out in a cloud of salty spray, they all have tales of paying a price on the same wave…. or more accurately, paying a price on the, mere inches below the surface, reef.
It is a wave that is as on a surfers ‘bucket list’ at 3-8′ as it is a ‘never’ in almost every surfers heart when faced with the reality of actually throwing yourself into it at 15-20′. For the sliver of men and women who go at 15-20′, there is no hesitation of being there when it is ‘On’. Plane flights, board packing, nightmare travel times, finding a boat captain, a tow partner.. the list goes on. But, for the select few, when it is ‘On’ they are on it.
Our friends at Patagonia and Kohl Christensen documented the last Big Swell at Teahupo’o in the video series Deep Water. It includes unseen footage of Koa’s wave in slow motion. Set to mellow music, it is 7 minutes inside the belly of the beast. Enjoy.
Kohl Christensen and friends continue their chase for big waves with a trip to Tahiti. The morning paddle session gives way to tow boards as the swell builds and the waves get crazy at Teahupo’o.
* For a very in depth article from Sean Collins and Surfline (with 35 pictures!) on the Mechanics of Teahupo’o, click HERE.