Kiwi surfers conquer monster waves
A pair of Kiwis are celebrating after conquering some of the biggest waves ever seen at one of the world's deadliest surf breaks in Tahiti.
Doug Young, 33, and Sam Hawke, 18, took one look at a surf report and flew from Dunedin and Christchurch to the infamous Teahupo'o break to catch the monster waves.
"We knew it was going to be the mac-daddy."
Surfers regard Teahupo'o as the heaviest and deadliest wave in the world. Big ocean swells break onto a very shallow coral reef.
The pair slept on the beach in their board bags before waking up on St Patrick's Day to what the two surfers say locals are calling the biggest day ever in Teahupo'o.
Hawke caught a few waves he was "stoked" with, before lining up a monster he estimated at up to 12 metres high.
"It was so big it was blocking out the sun. I just thought I have to make this or I'm gonna die. It was so heavy, it's the heaviest wave in the world basically."
Towed in by a jetski, he made the drop and surfed the wave, before having "the biggest wipe out of my life."
Young, a professional surfer from Christchurch, also scored what he said was "one of the most amazing barrel rides of my life".
"Only to be swallowed by the foam and dragged across the reef."
It was a special day for New Zealand surfing, Mr Hawke said.
Both surfers rides will now be in the running for the Billabong XXL Big Wave awards, a global big wave competition with a first prize purse of $70,000.
The prize money would be welcome. Hawke, a Dunedin student, said the Teahupo'o mission was funded by Young's father's credit card. "I tried to get an overdraft but they turned me down."
The Dominion Post