What’s the most intense surfing session you’ve ever had? Overhead? Double overhead? Hurricane swell? Storm rolled in and the conditions get incredibly bumpy, making it an adventure to paddle in? During this intense session, did you wipe out at all? While it felt like you were underwater for an entire minute, was it just 10 or 20 seconds? Was the water 20 feet deep?
Imagine, if you will, a wave that has a 20 foot face, is thick and as heavy as a building and it breaks into a razor sharp reef that is just a couple of feet deep? You’d have a wave that is both loved and feared by the world’s very best and bravest surfers.
The wave I’m talking about is a blue wall of power, the mutant wave known as: Teahupoo. For those of you unfamiliar, allow me to introduce Teahupoo (Also spelled Teahupoo, and pronounced “Cho-Po”
If you’re not convinced that Teahupoo is one of the most intense waves in the world, keep in mind that Teahupoo has only been surfed for about 15 years. For a long time, people thought it was far too steep to be surfable. They believed that if you caught the wave, you would eventually fall off…into razor sharp reef. It took several years of contemplation for the big wave surfing sensei, Laird Hamilton to take on the wave in 2000. He has since opened the door to Teahupoo, as it remains one of the world’s best big wave surfing locations, the site of numerous big-wave surfing competitions, like the Billabong Pro.
So what is the science behind Teahupoo?