You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf

You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf

I went through a big surfer girl phase in my teens, buying into Roxy hoodies and Quicksilver boardies. I headed to Porthcawl on the weekends with my long board and truly believed that I would one day become a professional surfer just like Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush – living in a beach hut and working as a hotel maid for a few hours each morning before hitting the beach to surf three metre waves all day long. I would be tanned, fearless and most importantly for me at the time, I would look very cool.

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So that never happened and I ended up in a heavily air conned office in the UK like so many other Brits. But today I got to relive a slice of my surfer girl dream; we went to see the famous Teahupo’o.

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Teahupo’o is regarded by many as the most dangerous wave in the world. The combination of razor sharp coral under foot and the most incredibly thick and powerful lip above your head creates a deadly cocktail with sometimes fatal consequences.

Video – One of the lucky ones

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When there’s a really heavy swell and the wave reaches its peak, it is so sudden that surfers cannot paddle it so instead they are towed by a jet ski. It’s so fast that it overtakes you, trapping you deep within the tube and creating a frightening vacuum which is impossible to escape. 

Video – One of the not so lucky ones

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Teahupo’o rarely exceeds eight metres although a local told us that the largest he’d witnessed was around fourteen metres. The danger is not in the height of the wave, it’s in the volume of water, the shallow breaking point and the coral. If you screw up you could easily die.

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I made a foolish mistake by asking our boat driver to take a photo of us. He took a few then realised the boat was slowly drifting into the current of the wave, but quickly steered us to safety while we almost toppled overboard. Note to self, sailors are not photographers.

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The wave is what brings people to Teahupo’o and apart from that there really isn’t much to see so we just cruised around on our three wheeler. 

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Always trying to impress me.

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