This week saw the second huge swell to hit Teahupoo in as many weeks.
Such was the hunger for heroism during the first swell that many witnesses said it was a miracle no one died – either from the shockingly powerful waves, or the mess of jetskis and tow ropes, each jockeying for the prime spot with, apparently, little regard for anyone else. Or indeed the number of boats hired by photographers to get as close to the action as possible.
This week’s swell was almost as big and almost as busy. Again, the surfers were going as perilously deep as they could, tow-surfers were muscling each other for sets and photo boats were hanging in as late as possible before scuttling out of harms way. They usually succeeded but not always, as you see in this clip in which Brazilian photographer Camilla Neves sustained a serious back injury after the boat driver left it too late to get out of the brutal inside end section of the wave. She was rushed to hospital for surgery but we have no word yet on how she’s doing.
A short while later a kiteboarder found himself in the worst possible place anyone could be at Teahupoo – caught inside by a giant wave and – far worse – obstructing the undisputed master of Teahupoo, Raimana van Bastolaer as he attempts to ride said giant wave.
Raimana was only mildly injured, but he looked pretty pissed off. No word on the kiteboarder’s status.
Is this just how it’s going to be on big south swells at The End of the Road? Or is something going to give?
We’ll dig around for answers to that, but meantime, here’s Gilles Hucault’s take on the day’s drama.