Watch: Teahupoo Close Call
The eyes of the surfing world were largely drawn towards Indonesia last week with the largest swell of the season so far striking on Wednesday.
However, it wasn't only the Indian Ocean that got a red sheen, but the South Pacific too, in particular the corridoor that runs up NZ's west coast towards French Polynesia.
Last Saturday, as web watchers were lamenting (or not) the waning swell at G'Land, the South Pacific swell was making landfall at Teahupoo. Below are two raw edits from the day, with more to come later.
Keep an eye on the boat driver for a model in keeping calm before, during, and after a close scrape.
Geezus!!! Very very lucky!!! How's old matey who falls overboard at the end. No idea which way was up or down!!
Nice to see all the ski's come to every in the water.
The 1st waves spit is literally cannon shot but then the boat, aye currumba so close. The guy diving off the back of the boat is a true bail out. Insane,
am i the only one who wants to see the boat go over the falls for getting too close
in the meantime I offer you this classic:
That was pretty funny in a weird way
And nobody was hurt in the filming of this!! ;-)
This vid never gets old for me
Haha, never. So heavy!
Prop or Jet driven ?
There was a really good article in one of the White Horses all about the design behind those boats. I'm sure Gra could point you to the issue.
Hopefully no one lost too much camera gear overboard ( ?in the grey case perhaps). The attempted jetski rescue at the start of 2nd vid was an epic fail too!!
Poor dude lost his baguette!
Check the baguette going flying in the slow mo of the first vid.
Thought he had his hand on his hip too while the baguettes flew around him
hahaha! Most famous baguette in surfing history!
Ha, I thought they were his thongs - there goes lunch!
It's bloody Franky The Thong Warrior
Those flying baguettes would make an excellent shooting stars meme, can you do that Jono?
Say no more fam. I don't have time for a full video/music meme, but it would look something like this...
haha.. I couldn't help but think of this tune/add.
Bloody classic, Got a mate who loves that heated straight on the fire while in the can while camping. Once a Bush Tail possum got his head stuck in the empty can and ran off into the bush on its back legs at Saltwater.
YES THAT'S EPIC!
Well done Jono! Very funny!
The second vid shows how close all the boats are, especially the yellow-orange one.There's no way I'd feel comfortable on any of them from that vision! ha!
It's only time when a boat loaded with people goes over the falls and someone gets seriously hurt or drowns. Boats way too close for surfers finding a exit point. Makes the place a total circus.
pushing the boundary beyond vert is just a matter of time. looking like a true cluster fuck in the channel but hey you got the shot right.
yeah fukin death trap for guys trying to exit the wave and the boats with little room to maneuver lucky there wasn't a bigger one behind them....be exciting though
Easy way for locals to make some money but don't think sitting that close is necessary or well thought out. Coming out of some of waves out there at speed leaves little room for error and exit options are limited. Puts surfers and anyone swimming (photogs) in further danger. Lot of general tourists on those boats with no water experience. Big waves and boats that are often crowded is asking for trouble.
I would have bailed too. In fact I wouldn't have got back on the thing.
That's sailing a little to close to the wind for me .Imagine going over the falls there , backwards and upside down in a boat. Fark that.
Haha, +1, fuck that indeed.
I reckon going over on a big one would indeed be life threatening. Impact would be huge and chaotic broken bodies aplenty. it's not just positioning either. imagine mechanical failure in a critical situation. The two who loose their ski put themselves where they should have known not to be if they were experienced with the set up of the end section of reef. Sometimes the surfer needs to take a few on the head until safe. looking pretty nuts.
The jet ski impact gets my vote those two guys sitting on it and the
wave gurgles then doubles up and the double suck extra thick lip
lands on them. OUCH
Don’t backchat me fella. I know boats!!
haha Gold .
sacrificing skis to the gods brings better waves. ;) Dude with the brown hat on boat the would have had an epic view looking down. Hold tight me hearties.
Camera's a couple of thousand
eeeeh, bravo or ooo la la
Guy who sees it first and jumps off the back - foresight.
If that boat has a prop then its lucky the bloke jumping off the back at the start and the other people in the water don't get mangled cause the driver is revving the engine and the boat gets washed sideways stern down.
best part is that the skipper doesn't even look back to see if anyone fell out......pretty casual
total fuck head, not cool - basic principle of safety - isolation and separation.
that's so funny
The bloke who bailed out on the starboard side was lucky not have his skull hit by the hull. He surfaces pretty close to the bow.
0.27 looks like ol mate gets sucked over the falls. 0.43 something pops up on the inside.
What happened? It just stopped?!?!
The jet ski pick-up attempt in the second vid is possibly worse than captain orange in the first vid
One day a rogue clean up set like this will happen and multiple boats will go over the falls:
Oldie but a goody...
Classic vid that one. That poor bastard who misses the wave just before armageddon hits.
Crazy amount of boats and skis in the channel. What a circus.
Surf photogs that are too frightened to swim, do not belong, in my not so humble opinion.
I think spectators that cannot surf or swim do not belong there, again in my not so humble opinion.
The only people there on craft should be water safety, towing teams and maybe one dedicated video team to capture the action. In my humble opinion.
The word circus or carnival comes to mind, along with things will go wrong, then listen to the waffle start.
How much petrol fumes does the water there need, is another thought for mine thinking.
Speaking of close calls - coastguard tries to kill a few surfers at the Mooloolah river mouth
The advice to yachties up there is to hang on the Mooloolaba breakwall then turn in and around the bank before heading out to sea, so it's a curious choice by the Coastguard to plough right through it.
Hard to tell at a distance but it looks like things could've gone very bad.
Coastguard driver is a reckless cowboy. His only job is to save lives and he’s there jeopardising them. Unless he’s an a crucial rescue where seconds count he should’ve given the surfers time to ge5 out of the way instead of charging out the rivermouth as though a few bodies going under the hull is the price of business.
Volunteer Coast Guard. Looks like a training day for recruits.
There's some very good , dedicated and highly skilled people that sign up for duty as volunteers , but some can be there for more of a Dad's Army social club*..
The skipper timed and approached that scenario poorly. I can only hope he was showing them what not to do , but I doubt it.
Volunteer Coast Guards are a worthwhile cause to support and by and large do a good job and I'm thankful for all those who dedicate time to it.
Totally agree. Every time I head out to sea it’s with the assurance that I’ve got those legends watching my back. Not sure what was going on in that vid. Unless there’s someone in dire and immediate danger requiring saving it was inexcusable.
That's extremely negligent behavior....
in regards to that moolabah video, its
puzzling the coast guard would act this way?
I believe a surfer got injured and his board destroyed during this incident.
I was about 200 meters away when this happened, there where lots of groms on that part of the bank.
Just watched it again and it looks like that happened when he got broad sided by that wave. That bloke is lucky to be here.
Only news I can find is pay walled.
The whole thing is very puzzling to me. There were obviously lulls and a safer route and he had the advantage of a flybridge. Extremely poor form.
Wow! That's so irresponsible!
Link to news below but it may be paywalled as I have a subscription, so I've copied text.
The photo shows a fully creased/scratched up epoxy board.
Mooloolaba Harbour: Coastguard narrowly avoids surfers as sandbank builds
An investigation is underway after the coastguard came close to colliding with surfers at Mooloolaba, as calls continue for an urgent solution to a dangerous sandbank.
A surfer ditched his board and dived underwater to avoid being hit as the Coastguard came dangerously close to colliding with surfers near the entrance to the port of Mooloolaba.
The incident on the afternoon of Saturday, May 28, has prompted an internal investigation and sparked more urgent calls for the removal of a dangerously shallow sandbank at the Mooloolah River entrance.
Beach Matters group president Rachael Bermingham said one of the surfers had to ditch his board and dive underwater to avoid the oncoming Coastguard Mooloolaba vessel.
She said the surfer dived deep enough to avoid the propeller, but his surfboard was run over in the process.
“If the state government had a better dredging plan none of these issues would be happening,” Ms Bermingham said.
“Blame should land squarely on the state government’s shoulders for mismanagement of this.
“They need to be engaging and seeking local knowledge and community input to design dredging plans that work.”
Coastguard Mooloolaba flotilla commander Ian Hunt urged people to avoid swimming or surfing near the entrance while boaties were forced to take on alternate routes to avoid the sandbank.
Mr Hunt said the Coastguard was attempting to navigate around the sandbar.
“But people in the water made it difficult,” he said.
“Water Police was advised of (the incident).
“(Water Police) had been out earlier in the day to get people to move out of the entrance.”
He confirmed an internal investigation into the incident was being held.
Mr Hunt said a larger dredge capable of clearing the sandbank at the port entrance was expected to arrive on Monday but didn’t.
He worried with a gale force wind warning, weather would not allow for the dredging to take place in coming days.
It comes as more than 100 stakeholders were set to meet on Tuesday, May 31, for an urgent meeting called by Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson and Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie.
Ms Simpson said it was costing businesses money and jeopardising the region’s reputation.
She said it was also making for a dangerous workplace for commercial fishermen who were forced to cross the bar while being smashed by waves.
“Events and businesses are going elsewhere because of this,” she said.
The state government should have intervened earlier … this has been going on for some time and they didn’t have to wait until it became this extreme situation.”
Ms Simpson said a larger dredge needed to be used more often to clear the entrance.
“Not just a one off, we need more, ongoing intervention earlier when the sand shift is occurring,” she said.
“I find it unfathomable they allowed it to get so bad.”
Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Kell Dillon said the department was monitoring the entrance, with channel dredging underway.
“Due to depths, tides and the current severe weather warning for South East Queensland, it was not possible to deploy the larger barge (on Monday),” he said.
“It will be used when sea conditions and tides allow.”
haha. Used to see some funny ones with the dive boats at the Pass. I do feel for them too trying to negotiate a frothing pack of generally beginners and kids.
Funniest one i saw was old mate on the mal surfing straight into the side of the inflatable and bouncing off it with elevation and more speed than he had going into it. One of the best rides i've ever seen at The Pass.
Would expect this kind crap from our friends from lakemba on their Leb Sleds, not an old sea dog.
The guy that drove that thing needs to get grilled by a royal commission for his stupidity. Absolute dick head.
Fuckin Dad's Army those cocks. Full Boomer mode - blow the horn and go
Bloke driving the boat needs slapping and banned from driving. That’s not cool and casual, it’s dumb cunt stuff. Crew could’ve easily been killed.
Watch the bloke rolling off the back. Hundreds of kilos of backsliding boat could’ve knocked him brainless and sent his body to the bottom and the driver doesn’t even seem perturbed that his utter fuck up might’ve wasted the crew on board.
Some more footage here, he definitely likes to hold pole position in the line-up
The one thing that all reckless dumb cunt boat drivers have in common is that they’re all reckless dumb cunts.
It doesn’t go any deeper than that.
Sounds like a bunch of kids on a ride at Dreamworld. I don't get it. Why would you want to be that close? Is this some kind of tourist thing?
just another quiet day out with the new lady.
I remember that one, Rob. Some gold medal dumb arse shit, right there. How many lives endangered by that idiot?
Swimmers who swam for them > champions.
The Teahupo footage is a bit sad. If I was on that boat I’d want my money back. What’s the point of that?
Also, where are the surfers supposed to kick out at the end of the ride if the channel is full of boats and skis?
batfink, Im not sure how or why he headed towards the wall or what caused him to get caught inside (Big spaced out sets?), maybe he thought he was going to get round the back of it. who knows? Pretty heavy result. Lucky professionals life guards where on the job for sure. life jackets may have saved their lives although they would have made avoiding a unmanned ski pretty much impossible if presented with it. It's gotta hurt riding that wall in the way they did.
I do feel safer for sure at certain spots with ski's looking out for me, but congestion or negligence is starting to make me somewhat fearful of who's in control and what my exit points are if im in the wrong spot. The weight and the speed of the ski mainly. Just another thing to consider when assessing it from a paddle view. Ski's always remind me of horsemen in old westerns, When paddling their is no way i can compete or defend myself if needed. Sometimes it sucks other times it's good. The good crew know whats up. They tend to watch out for all and keep it safe. Sometimes offering a lift or a tow.
Ski's have changed surfing massively. Both negatively and positively in how they are used in the line up. I always see crew towing the best waves at some spots, the paddlers can't compete or even get a look in if its busy with ski's. It easy to see why crew get pissed from a paddling perspective. Taking every set against crew who have been paddling and positioning for three hours an't going to be looked at in good light. Just as someone who constantly paddles to the inside. When i see ski's snaking each other i just laugh. To me that's not even surfing but greed. You can't stop it. Only be aware of it until shit hits the fan. Give a wave get a wave is the only solution in regards to paddlers and towing. The reality of of more congestion is more danger wether I or you provide it. It's a fine balance in some situations regarding crowds, ski's or boats. This is modern surfing.
Jetski test questions for NSW
The Personal Watercraft Driving Licence Knowledge Test consists of 15 multiple choice questions.
You are driving a vessel when your vision is suddenly affected by glare from the sun. You should:
A. Slow down or stop until you regain vision
B. Speed up and hold your course
C. Alter course quickly and sharply away from the sun
When driving a PWC at any speed, what is the minimum distance you must keep from a person in the water in a surf zone or swimming area?
A. 30 metres
B. 10 metres
C. 60 metres
perspective from the estimable Tim McKenna, (taken from his facebook, assuming he won't mind):
This is my version of what happened at Teahupoo Saturday 28th May. We were on the orange Poti Marara fishing boat captained by Eric Labaste.
At Teahupoo the present situation is this. Camera boats with professional photographers, cameramen and pro surfers who have been shooting the wave for years are getting gradually pushed towards the wave by an ever-increasing number of taxi boats, jet skis, tourists and locals wanting to get close to the action for a selfie or story.
In addition at high tide some sets break closer to the channel compressing the zone even further. The first clip shows our boat getting caught a little too close to the first wave of a set with Joao Chumbo surfing on a wide set. Nothing dramatic, something Eric, myself and many other pro’s have experienced a hundred of times over the last 25 years. We know the risks of shooting around waves are fully prepared.
However after that wave one of the photographers on our boat stood up without securing himself. In a flash of a second he slipped falling out of the boat camera in hand. Eric looked back to see how we could pick him up. The couple of seconds spent assessing the situation how to rescue him put the boat in a critical situation as the second wave of the set started to break even closer to the channel.
Eric, instead of accelerating full throttle which would have launched the boat and thrown everyone overboard, stayed calm stabilising the boat ready to handle the face of the approaching 12ft wave but with an additional problem - a jet ski blocking his passage. Once the boat was vertical the ice container came loose causing seasoned surf photographers and cameramen Chris Bryan, Ted Grambeau, Mendo De Dornellas, Natxo Gonzales, Aritz Aranburu and Jon Aspuru to be thrown into the water.
Myself, veteran cameraman Olivier Ravel, Eric Bernatet and Andrew Fierro
managed to stay on the boat.
Eric, fisherman by trade, is the most respected, experienced waterman at at Teahupoo and the Fenua Aihere area. His positioning, understanding of the Teahupoo channel and the way the wave breaks is unparalleled. Most of the photos and footage that has been seen world wide has been shot thanks to Eric’s expertise. He is Teahupoo’s version of @frednorth and his helicopter, @briankeaulana and his jet ski, etc.
Eric has now reached legendary status for his skill in handling successfully this extremely difficult situation. It is easy to criticise without knowledge of the conditions and actual sequence of events.
The Ocean can be treacherous. Experience and keeping calm will always prevails over rash or hysterical behaviour.
I will address the larger problem of the Teahupoo channel security in a later post.
Are they going to ban baguettes? That thing could have killed someone.
So, to be clear.... the driver of the orange boat did not accelerate for the safety of the crew? Also, for the safety of the jetski? Fucken hero if so.
Cheers Gra - that explains it all.
I surfed there nearly thirty years ago. Not big but some double over head sets. Had some great waves but also gashed my foot up bad from the reef and ended up with coral poisoning. We had a rubber ducky drop us off and come back later to pick us up. The swell direction I found out from the locals wasn't ideal and there was some waves breaking wide every now and then. Rubber ducky stops right where the wide ones broke. Driver has the boat facing the shore with his back to the ocean. A big mistake. I jump in first and keep looking out the back for a wave. Sure enough a 6 footer is coming towards us and he is in the impact zone. I told the driver and expected he would go straight and then turn around to avoid it. He instead put it in reverse. Also a big mistake. This thing is starting to break and he is backing into it. I bailed and came up expecting to see upside down boat with boards everywhere etc. Couldn't believe my eyes but it was upright. Probably as it was a rubber ducky. A dinghy would have been toast.
No one gives a fuck out there. You can park up on a bouy if you wish way out in the deep as many leave their skis saving a paddle. The wave is epic and of perfect heaviness. Is the human element as usual which fucks it.
Boat rides are in US dollars so take your savings. Tim has made an iconic name for himself capturing this wave as have many others.
It is a truly remarakable spectacle or surf location big or small. It's the other elements that have infringed that have spoilt it a little.
The Tahitians own it everyday it breaks. Therefore they can regulate it both from the water or amongst the floating circus that is ever increasing.
Anyone who got this wave back in the day before the hype was truly fortunate. This wave is incredible and has all the dangers associated with that. It is easily accessible and known therefor crowded with surfers and photographers.
Tourists have become just another element just as travelling surfers chasing the dream or impossible illusion. That code red day would have been mind blowing from the water for all that where there. Every time I watch it I'm in amazement. Full props to the crew that charge it.
Take an A game and relaxed attitude. If it gets to much go diving or snorkelling it's epic. Maururu and blessings Tahiti your bloody lucky. A true island paradise. Waves or not.
I still rekon way too many photogs that cant swim and arent committed relying on the boat or ski, cluttering the lineup and creating danger for many others by doing it the easy way. Let the young photogs with the commitment and dedication have priority. No boats and only a very few video skis to reduce uneccessary dangers. One can waffle all they like about being responsible and prepared. Is just waffle, once deaths start especially if its Polynesian casualties. No boats is a big part of the safety solution if the relevant bodies are committed to safety at Chopes.
With the class divide and limited options of employment. These boats are an attractive money maker if you can get one. One side of the islands that is highly noticeable is the wealth discrepancy.
I don't see them getting it under control easily. Crew know that the wave provides opportunities both in regard to surfers and income. Easy dollars to be had with misconceptions of risk. Hence why crew explore those options.
Gotta feel for the crew at the end of the road. Everybody wants a piece of paradise. Be it at risk to others or not. Modern surfing is ever present and not going away. With all the pros and cons it brings. It a fine line between pleasure and pain.
Just to be clear there have been many times I would have jumped at the chance to make US dollars. Circumstance is a great driver oblivious to risks or not. Supply and demand is another factor. Pipe. Tahiti. Some of indo and other great waves are all experiencing these pressures. Third world to the first world. This is the foot print of surfing and all that it brings.
Thanks Gra, always good to get the facts. Sounds like Eric the captain has earned his bonafide legend status and I was impressed with his cool hands under pressure but I say if you're driving any vehicle and you see your passengers cross themselves and start praying, well you might be pushing it a bit too far. Just saying
Xtream boating at the horizontal falls Western Australia recently experianced trouble and made news headlines. Water photography is now adventure tourism in some parts. Adventure tourism has always carried risks as has surfing. The demand is high. Instagram has accelerated this.
How many crew get hurt taking a selfie or or looking to outdo on the internet. Many. It's a phenomen. And it ain't going away. Entertaining and deadly at the same time. Boundaries most certainly have been pushed because of this. Some have benefited some have not. Red bull is a classic case of taking adventure sports to the masses at the athletes or locations expense.
They are a soft drink not adventure gear. But have dominated adventure sports and athletes. For good and bad. We ain't going back. Pros gotta take risks to make it now. They won't get much if they don't.
Evolution commercial or not and the standards are bloody high and so are the risks. How calculated or where it ends remains to be seen throughout the outdoor market. Boundaries are being pushed.
Everest is no longer unatainale to those that may not really be suited to the climb it's self. Freedom is Their for the taking calculated or not. Purists versus the world. The world versus the purist.
Limits are being pushed faster than ever before.
Pretty rad pretty wild at the same time. It can only keep evolving as new limits are broken both individually or for the masses.
Refinement can't keep up in some terms as tide and man wait for no one.
Houston , we have a problem.
Sat 28/05/22 Noosa Bar
I almost thought he was going to save it , the motor seemed to be still running somehow until he took his hands off the tiller. So close , yet so far.
well he blew that ...too casual......ya never turn side on to the swell...
let it rain
some absolute mental ones on kookslams.
bugger all life jackets in above vids
dumb cuts driving boats..the bigger the boat the bigger the dickhead
Just got back from Tahiti on Friday last week - spewing.
Not that Id surf it - got whacked at Moorea on the the building swell Thursday thankyou very much.
Those boat drivers with the joy sticks are highly skilled- spearing Mahi Mahi whilst driving a boat is pretty amazing.
Dig the traditional outriggers and canoes they use in Polynesia and the Indonesian Jukung.
More Chopes footage from the channel. Better edit coming shortly:
Some POV of the same session from Nathan Florence. The Go Pro really excels at making large, deadly waves look small
A different angle on the close call.
And one from the vault.
tube shooter that angle looks even crazier. Wonder what the guy driving the centre console who turns to look at the camera is thinking, a slight shake of the head? Looks stunned at what has just unfolded. Looking forward to the footage of session, some epic ones in above vids.
That fn captain is a disgrace. Should not be in charge of a boat, let alone have others lives in his hands. I mean, watching it now is funny but it was pure luck someone was not killed.
Old mates had that boat in the presidents park since the explode ....
assuming wealthy photogs get first dibs ...
Cloudbreak is a great example of being away from the chaos and still getting the money shot ..
guess its going to take a death until sanity prevails