The Reset Button: Teahupo'o Mega Swell Revisited

© Brian Bielmann

In this week's featured blog, big wave surfer, Rusty Long, provides an insider's take on Tahiti.

Gosh, Teahupoo just went bionic. And for three days straight. Unless you live in a cave or have been off in the bush someplace, it’s pretty impossible not to have seen an extraordinary amount of the images by now.

Instagram this, Vine that, you name it and it's been all over my FB feed since Monday, literally as things -- waves -- were happening. Posts were followed by links to web outlets, where you could perv out big time. It truly is amazing how quickly the information spreads these days, to the benefit of some, gratification of many and demise of some hard working photographers who still work in what seems like the stone ages of print, and whose images are cheapened because everybody has already seen multiple angles, many amateur, all over the social media world and web. But that’s just the world we live in these days, and big news is big news.

The human gladiator feats that were going on over there at Teahupoo were mind blowing and often terrifying. It was another one of those surfing events, much like Fiji last year, that is a game changer. So, so, so many insane rides went down by a crew as big as any that has ever assembled for a swell from what I hear. Another element of the rapid information age, but with that you get the element of people really pushing each other, a frenzy of a sort, and when that happens on big sessions, a certain type of madness ensues.

That wave has always scared me, although I know I could definitely go grab the rope and do it. There are some very average surfers doing just that, and getting the waves of their lives to show for it. Some of them are also eating absolute shit and putting their lives in jeopardy. Just that thought in the back of the mind, of making a crucial error, like you see even many a competent surfer do, has never led me to go do it.

I don’t mind taking a big deep water wave wipeout and spending some time underwater, but something about that wave, knowing how easily you can get your face shredded like Makua Rothman this swell, or your head totally mangled like Benjamin Sanchis, who I heard was unconscious when he came up, has always freaked me out.

I’ve been happy to kick back and wait for the swells to march on up to Puerto Escondido and get plenty tubed on big enough waves over sand. But at the same time, I’m not getting those Teahupo'o tubes, and can only imagine what the sensation is like.

From what I hear it’s the best. How could it not be? All those guys you see doing it every time it breaks are addicted, because it is the best sensation in surfing.

Getting crazy deep in critical, cartoon-looking tubes and fire-hosed out the end to the cheers of a huge crowd in the channel, then watching your friend do it -- that’s dreamy stuff only a small portion of humans are doing.

The rest of us sit back in awe and look at our screens, and later on magazines, and get blown away over and over again at what these guys are doing. And this time especially so, because of the rare situation that it was hanging in that extra large size for three days. I can’t remember hearing of that before. Another one of those little surprises that goes to show you’ve never seen it all.