Teahupoo has gained a reputation for handing out some of the world’s best barrels and worst beatings—often you’ll find both in the same session. If watching the upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti inspires you to test yourself at the ferocious wave, we recommend reading the following words of advice from local expert Michel Bourez first. If you’re still chomping at the bit, make sure both your SURFER subscription and life insurance policy have been renewed before you book your flight.
For your first time, try to wait for the most forgiving conditions possible. “A head-high day is the perfect way to start surfing Teahupoo,” says Michel. “It’s not too big, but you can still get barreled a hundred times out there. For the best conditions, Teahupoo needs a southwest swell and a north wind, which keeps it glassy. My favorite time of day to surf it is during the morning on a low tide. You can surf it all day, but I think it’s best around 5:30 in the morning to about 9 or 10. When I can, I’ll go surf in the morning, go home and rest midday, and then go for another surf in the afternoon.”