June 14, 2013

Front Row for the Surf Show

Known as the heaviest wave in the world, when Teahupoo gets revved up to full power, it’s an awesome sight. We can’t even imagine trying to surf it.

© 2013 Caroline of Orkestern

One of the many cool things about world cruising is that you sometimes find yourself in the right place at the right time to experience amazing natural phenomena. That was the case early last week when Tahiti’s world-famous surf break, Teahupoo (Cho-Poo), swelled to epic proportions, and several boatloads of newly-arrived cruisers were there to witness the spectacular show. 

Will and Sarah Curry of the Vancouver, BC-based Beneteau First 405 Hydroquest were among them: "We nailed it on the timing and caught one of the biggest swells of the year. Words can’t describe how amazing it was to be right off the break when the sets came through."

Will (foreground), Sarah (lime top) and their cruising buddies took in the show from the relative safety of their observation launch.

© Caroline on Orkestern

They, and fellow Pacific Puddle Jumpers from the Freemantle, AUS-based Gunboat 52 Kiapa, the Anacortes, WA-based Lagoon 440 Double Diamond and the Sweden-based Orkestern, drove out to Tahiti Iti (an appendage of the main island) in rental cars, and hired a launch for a front-row view of the action.

"We knew the swell was coming," says Will. "On Friday night (May 31) we felt it. Huge waves were crashing over the protective reef on Tahiti’s west coast, turning the normally flat calm anchorage and mooring area into a surging mess of water, with some waves even breaking inside the reef"

What makes Teahupoo so beefy? As this illustration from the great surfing site Surfline.com shows, when big ocean swells hit the steep, uplifted coastline of Tahiti Iti, their mass is pushed up and folded into mountainous, perfectly formed surf breaks.

© 2013 Sean Collins / Surfline/Wavetrack, Inc

As Will explains, "The name Teahupoo translates in English to ‘broken skulls,’ so it’s predictably hardcore." In fact, just watching from the relative tranquility of a spectator boat can be a gnarly experience that’s likely to get the old adrenaline pumping.

Meanwhile, many 2013 Pacific Puddle Jumpers will gather at Papeete on June 28 to take part in the annual three-day Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous. Both a celebration of the fleet’s successful crossing from the West Coast of the Americas and a celebration of Polynesian cultural traditions in music, dance, sport and cuisine, the Rendezvous draws cruisers from many nations. Click here to register online.

Win Steve Miller Tickets

 Just a reminder to pop on over to www.summersailstice.com/sf to enter for a chance to win a pair of VIP box tickets to see the Steve Miller Band and the Doobie Brothers on June 21 — of course! — at the America’s Cup Pavilion at Piers 27/29. Enter before 5 p.m. tonight; the winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. 

If you don’t win, you can still buy tickets HERE, starting at $52. The America’s Cup Event Authority has promised to donate a portion of each ticket sold to SailSFBay.org‘s youth outreach program. Good music and a good cause!


The MOD Squad In California

The MOD70 Orion has been sailing San Diego Bay, known for light winds, the last couple of days. Lowell North, long-retired founder of North Sails, and his wife Bea got to go along. With Lowell at the helm, Bea reports Orion hit 22 knots in just seven knots of true wind. We wonder if the Pope has ever gone faster. Certainly not on San Diego Bay.

Chris Gage’s Express 27 Ergo leads the charge upriver in shorts and T-shirts, ready for Stockton’s 107-degree temps.
 As reported earlier, the Bay Area sailing community lost one of its most beloved ‘elder statesmen’ last month.
If you’re planning to submit a Classy Classified for the July issue of Latitude 38, be aware that the deadline is this Saturday.
Latitude readers may remember John Lubimir, the likable singlehander from the East Coast who came to California in 2012 to sail in the Singlehanded TransPac.
In the June issue of Latitude 38, this writer reported on the foiling trimaran l’Hydroptère and their upcoming TransPacific record attempt.