Watch top surfers ride the French Polynesian waves just off the coast of Tahiti‘s Teahupo’o, reportedly pronounced ‘cho-po’ by surfers and ‘tear-hoo-poh-oh’ by locals. With massive swells, heavy boat traffic, and sharp coral reefs below, the legendary surf spot, home to the Billabong Pro: Tahiti, is recommended for surf professionals, but we get to see the ocean rise up to form the ‘world’s heaviest waves’ via this drone video by Brent Bielmann and Eric Sterman for Surfing Magazine. Song: Brigitte Fontaine – Le Gougron.
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…when we look at Teahupoo, the waves are surprisingly clean. This is because there are several channels within the reef those shoots out water from the shore back into the deeper ocean… These channels in the reef are caused by the geology of the mountains of Teahupoo. Coral can only grow with a certain salinity (salt content). So when the fresh rain water gets sent down the mountains of Tahiti, it does so with a finger-like pattern. Creating a perfect set of channels in the reef to make Teahupoo’s waves nice and smooth.
Where the channels are, the waves are much more gradual. This is why when we look at videos of Teahupoo, people can park their boats, jet-skis in this safe-zone. Where there is no reef, there is no wave. The channels also create a very fast current, which means that surfers must get towed out.