When you’re driving a boat in surf mecca of Teahupoʻo in Tahiti it only takes a moment’s lapse in concentration or a slight miscalculation and you have a serious situation on your hands. Such was case last year when a boat loaded with photographers were a bit late in getting over the crest and went nearly vertical before slapping down. Several passengers were ejected into the water (not a safe place given the incoming waves) but thankfully there were some of the best water rescue professionals in the world in the vicinity and they swarmed the scene on their jetskis. No injuries were reported.

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Teahupoʻo is a world-renowned surf spot located on the southwest coast of the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Its history is intertwined with the ancient Polynesian culture and the evolution of surfing.

Teahupoʻo’s name translates to “place of the skull” in Tahitian, referring to a prominent rock formation in the area. For centuries, local Polynesians respected and feared this place due to its massive, powerful waves and the dangerous reef break that lay beneath the surface.

The modern surfing history of Teahupoʻo began in the early 1980s when intrepid surfers, such as Tom Carroll and Mark Occhilupo, ventured to Tahiti in search of new and challenging waves. It was during this time that Teahupoʻo’s reputation as a big wave surf spot started to grow.

In the 1990s, with advancements in surfing equipment and techniques, Teahupoʻo attracted even more surfers seeking to ride its monstrous waves. The infamous ‘Code Red’ session in 2011, during the Billabong Pro Tahiti, showcased the break’s colossal and terrifying waves, further solidifying its status as one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world.

Today, Teahupoʻo remains a coveted destination for professional surfers, hosting elite competitions like the World Surf League’s Tahiti Pro. Its awe-inspiring waves and the thrill of challenging nature’s force continue to captivate surfers and enthusiasts worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the history of surfing.