The infamous Tahiti contest starts in a week. Trails have already started and it's pumping down there. Teahupoo really separates the Men from the Boys. Relying on pure, fearless instinct. One of the only contests where all you have to do is make the drop and hope you don't get eaten. The speed, force and torrential river-like flow of water, breaking below sea level?!?! This degree of surfing and confidence baffles me. A couple years ago I happened to be on the North Shore during the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout contest at Pipeline. Second reef was maxing out on a couple sets = 25 foot faces of barreling death. Just watching these guys waiting on the beach, timing sets and excitedly racing out to laugh in the face of death is humbling enough, let alone dropping into these bombs and pulling in like it was a walk in the park... (check out the video here)
Anyways... Watching these gladiators battle it out in the ultimate arena finds me feeling mixed emotions. Knowing I'll never find myself racing through one of these Tahitian kegs, getting blown out through the foamball, claiming it with a crotch-grab middle finger to all the photogs and boats in the channel... is slightly saddening, yet also somewhat comforting. The utter lack of skill and cajones makes me feel inadequate as both a surfer and man... however a shred of solace comes from knowing that even if I attempted to scratch into one of those thundering behemoths, I would most probably be instantly cheese-grated to death by the very sharp and shallow reef hungrily waiting below. So, as we all eagerly sit, wait and watch the swell models for the South Pacific, let's keep our fingers crossed for some aquatic drama in the form of horrifying wipe-outs and unforgettable barrels.