Teahupoo: one of the deadliest surfing waves in the world | Photo: Bielmann/Red Bull

Teahupoo is one of the deadliest waves on the planet. It can give you the ride of a lifetime, or it can kill you.

Known not for its height, but for its weight and thickness, the liquid gem of Tahiti is often compared to a mutant species that can only be tamed by fearless, experienced athletes.

Teahupoo's reputation has never ceased to grow. For many big wave surfers, it represents the ultimate testing ground; the place that truly embodies the feeling of fear and panic.

The hollow, life-threatening wave with a thick lip is a wonder of Nature. Let's take off deep, and hope Teahupoo shows us the exit of its roaring left-hand blue cylinder.

1. The most famous wave in Tahiti was first ridden by Thierry Vernaudon, in 1985;

2. Professional bodyboarders Mike Stewart and Ben Severson were the first foreign wave riders to experience the power of the thunderous South Pacific reef break;

3. Teahupoo is also known as "The End of the Road";

The End of the Road: a South Pacific reef pass that produces life-threatening waves

4. In Polynesian, Teahupoo means "the pile of heads," "the heap of heads," or "the hot head";

5. The heavy Tahitian wave breaks approximately 500 yards offshore in an abrupt deep-to-shallow coral pass;

6. Fifty yards beyond the reef, the depth of the sea drops to more than 300 feet;

7. Why is Teahupoo one of the most dangerous waves in the world? Because approaching swells transition from very deep water to very shallow waters over a short distance. This causes the waves to rise and surge over a shallow reef;


8. The height of the wave face is between two and three times bigger than the wave's back;

9. Teahupoo goes XXL when it gets an SSW swell and an NE/ESE wind. For perfect conditions, paddle out early in the morning in the low tide;

10. Waves get bigger in Teahupoo between April and September. The spot has a wide swell window, though;

11. Teahupoo offers three main take-off spots. For long barrels and deep take offs, head to the south peak. For square barrels, position yourself on the southwest peak. For shorter, and more forgiving rides, go for the west end of the wave, close to the channel;

Teahupoo: a heavy wave with a thick lip | Photo: WSL

12. Teahupoo has claimed the lives of five surfers. Briece Taerea lost his life after getting caught inside and trying to duck dive a 15-foot wave;

13. The first pro surfing event held at Teahupoo was the 1998 Gotcha Tahiti Pro. It was part of the ASP World Tour;

14. On August 17, 2000, Laird Hamilton rode the so-called Millennium Wave, one of the gnarliest rides ever at Teahupoo;

15. Yannick Salmon was the first kitesurfer to challenge the fast-breaking freight train of Teahupoo;

16. In 2012, Bruce Irons surfed and got barreled at Teahupoo completely blindfolded;


17. A regular ride at Teahupoo is relatively short - between 75 and 100 yards - compared to many other world class waves ;

18. Bill "Beaker" Bryan was the first wave rider to take on Teahupoo on a skimboard;

19. On May 28, 2015, Hawaiian charger, Nathan Florence, scored what is considered the biggest/heaviest paddle-in wave ever at Teahupoo;

19. On July 22, 2015, Jamie O'Brien set himself on fire - literally - and got barreled at Teahupoo;

Jamie O'Brien: fired up at Teahupoo | Photo: Thouard/Red Bull

20. "Point Break 2" was partially shot at Teahupoo. Laird Hamilton, Albee Layer, Billy Kemper, Bruce Irons, Dylan Longbottom, and Laurie Towner were part of the stunt team for the movie;

21. Whenever things go wrong, Teahupoo will give you free, back tattoos. Believe it or not, the word "tattoo" originates from the Tahitian expression "tatau," meaning... open wound;

22. In 2015, Australian motorcyclist-stuntman Robbie Maddison rode his motorbike on a 15-foot plus Teahupoo wave;


23. Windsurfing at Teahupoo? Why not? Jason Polakow, Kevin Pritchard, Kauli Seadi, Camille Juban, and Antoine Martin are some of the windsurfers who rode the Tahitian beast on mast-high days;

24. The Teahupoo channel is not always a safe place to be. Freak waves have already capsized boats. In 2013, a photographer broke three vertebrae when the boat she was in was thrown up in the air by a massive wave;

25. Keala Kennelly is one of the most experienced female surfers at Teahupoo. However, she has already had a couple of close calls with death in Tahiti. In 2011, she was seriously injured and got a ended up with a terrible scalp wound. Four years later, Kennelly got smashed down onto the reef by a giant wave;

Keala Kennelly: she was smashed down onto the Teahupoo reef

26. The most famous Tahitian surfer in the world is Michel Bourez, also known as "The Spartan";

27. One of the biggest waves ever surfed at Teahupoo was measured at around 80 feet;

28. "Solid: The Two Days That Teahupoo Blew Minds," "Inside Teahupoo," "The Ultimate Wave Tahiti," "Teahupoo Uncut," "Code Red: Teahupoo," "Teahupo'o: Ten Days that Changed Surfing," and "Blackwater: The Story Of A Place Called Teahupo'o" are some of the most popular movies about the infamous Tahitian surf break;

Nazaré probably is the most powerful beach break. The Portuguese big wave surfing spot is as exciting as it will test your limits - as a surfer and as a human being.

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