READER REPORT:

Catching the big waves

HOLLY GREY
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012

A huge wave hits a surfer.

A huge wave hits a surfer.

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Nestled behind pristine foliage lies a gem, one loved by many big wave surfers.

Teahupo'o holds the Billabong Pro each year, and there are certain times of the year the pro-surfers get the best swells (some of the waves reach up to 9.2 metres).

Kelly Slater has taken out four of these competitions.

There are, however, everyday surfers who throw themselves into the waves - they often wear helmets in order to prevent themselves from doing the serious damage that comes when you hit a shallow reef.

When I was there Keala Kennelly of Hawaii hit the reef, injuring her face and scalp. She needed 30 stitches in her face and 10 in her scalp. The image in the newspaper the next day was terrible.

Although you may think Teahupo'o has death written all over it, it is an exquisite escape from the hustle and bustle of Papeete. There is a laid back atmosphere in Teahupo'o village, which you walk through in order to get to the main side where the boats and helicopters take off.

You can't, however, avoid the media in Teahupo'o either. We met some guys photographing the glassy waters and massive white wash of waves for National Geographic and a Hawaiian recording some epic footage for a television show.

Many of these surfers he was recording were locals - they could carve the waves amazingly, like Slater himself.

It was such a captivating experience sitting right in front of the large waves that I felt infinitesimal.

Behind me, the mountainous green terrain and clear blue skies with a hint of cloud played a placid image. It was completely opposite to what was in front of me but I was receiving the best of both worlds.


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