Teahupoo Surf Break

By Daniel D’Ascenzo
Zach Gorecke
* Teahupoo is located in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
* Sits on the 17th parallel south
in the Pacific Ocean.
* Island formed by two
dormant volcanoes.
* Surrounded by reefs formed
by nutritious ocean water.
* Consistent swell year round comes
primarily from the Roaring Forties.
Most powerful swell is during the
winter months (May – October).
* Best swell is from S, SE, or SW
because of south facing reefs.
* Wave periods of greater than 16 seconds ideal for big
* Receives some swell from Northern Hemisphere storms.
* Why aren’t all reef breaks like Teahupoo?
* Unique seamount configuration to the south
* Perfect depth for refracting long period swell(>16 s)
so that it focuses on Teahupoo
Deeper water following seamounts, allowing no
energy loss
* Teahupoo is a reef break that primarily breaks left.
* Waves break at the same point at a pass in the reef.
* Water depth changes from 100m to 10m almost
* Slope from reef to seafloor is about 1/6.
* Roughly equal to slightly less than the maximum
slope a wave can endure before breaking.
* Teahupoo translates to “broken skulls”.
* Break is about 1 km offshore
* It is very difficult to paddle out to where the
waves are breaking. For an experienced surfer
it would take a solid 25 to 30 minutes of
constant paddling.
* It is recommended to be taken out by boat or
drug out by jet ski.
* Considered the world’s “heaviest” wave.
* Face often 10 times larger then the back.
* Greater wave heights caused by more powerful
* Under 6 feet 95% of the time.
* Best wind direction is from the NNE(offshore)
* occurs 36% of the time.
* Summer months: November thru April
* Increased: Temperatures, precipitation, and
* Winter months: May thru October
* Decreased: Temperatures, precipitation, and
* Average air temperatures: 77-85
* Average water temperatures: 77-84
* Seasonal Prevailing Winds
* NE trade winds dominate from January to
* SE trade winds from May to August
* Easterlies from September to December
* Chance of hurricanes during summer
* Offshore winds do not coincide with winter
* Local weather patterns controlled by local
* Rainier on windward side of islands
Yellow =
NE trades
SE trades
• Easiest way to travel to Teahupoo is by plane. The
average time it takes would be about 15 hours on
the plane and additional time spent waiting for
connecting flights.
• Very Expensive
• US Airways flight out of Philadelphia to Tahiti totals
$1,128 with stops in Charlotte and Los Angeles then
finally arriving at Papeete, Tahiti.
• American Airlines flight out of Philadelphia to Tahiti
totals $2,077 with stops in Chicago and Los Angeles
then arriving at Papeete, Tahiti.
• Once in Papeete, Tahiti one must either rent a car
or take public transportation to Teahupoo.
*Friendly locals because tourism is a major
component of French Polynesia’s economy
and therefore provides many jobs.
*Local Languages
*Local currency is the CFP Franc
*1 dollar = 86 CFP Francs
*Local wildlife
*Tiger sharks
*Giant centipedes
* Teahupoo is home to the annual
ASP Billabong Pro.
* Fifth stop on ASP World Tour
* This single event brings out some
of the worlds best surfers
* Former stop on bodybuilding world tour
* It is recommended that you have a board that
fits the curve at Teahupoo. No long boards
because the curve will toss any rider with a long
board. Around 6’9’’ is a good board size.
* It is also recommended to bring two spare
boards. There is an increased chance of board
breakage at Teahupoo.
* Bandages and power for reef cuts are also
recommended. Since the break is on a reef,
many people get cuts and scratches on the coral.
Wave Period and
Wave Height
Actual breaking wave heights
corroborate to what would be
Teahupoo wind and swell statistics
Approximately what waves
would look like
* "Teahupoo." GlobalSurfers an Online Surf Travel Resource, by
Surfers for Surfers with Free Surf and Travel Guides. Web.
18 Oct. 2011. <http://www.globalsurfers.com>.
* "Teahupoo Surf and Swell Size and Direction |
SURFLINE.COM." SURFLINE.COM | Global Surf Reports, Surf
Forecasts, Live Surf Cams and Coastal Weather. Web. 31 Oct.
2011. <http://www.surfline.com/surf-report/teahupootahiti_8366/>.
* "Teahupoo Swell Statistics." Surf Report, Surf Forecast,
Surfing. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. <http://www.surfforecast.com/charts/Teahupoo/surf/statistics/year>.
Wilson, Peter. "Kelly Slater Wins 2011 Billabong Pro Tahiti - ESPN." ESPN:
The Worldwide Leader In Sports. 30 Aug. 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
"Tahiti Surf Season, Surfing Conditions Tahiti- Waterways Travel." Surfing,
Surf Charters, Surf Trips- Waterways Surf Adventures. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
"Search for Cheap Airline Tickets at Cheapoair.com." Cheap Flights, Airline
Tickets, Cheap Plane Tickets, Cheap Airfare â€
“CheapOair. Web. 18 Oct.
2011. <http://www.cheapoair.com/default.aspx?tabid=1682>.
"Surfing Teahupoo – Tahiti | The Big Wave Blog." The Big Wave Blog: A
Chronicle of Big Wave Surfing From Oahu's North Shore. Web. 18 Oct.
2011. <http://www.thebigwaveblog.com/surf-spots/teahupoo-tahiti>.
* National Weather Service: Environmental Moeling Center.
NOAA, 31 Oct. 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.
* Stanley, David. "Tahiti Travel Guide." South Pacific Organizer.
N.p., 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
* Waldie, Adam. "Teahupoo-Anatomy of a Monster." Tracks.
Tracks Magazine, 24 Mar. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.

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