Teahupoo, Toledo, and the title outcome

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Now that John John is out of the race, the CT title conversation is revolving around two things: Gabriel Medina blitzing the back half of the season, and Filipe Toledo's chances in the heavy water of Teahupoo and Pipeline.

We don't have much to say about Gabs, the stats are there for everyone to see, but regarding FT, there's one big factor that hasn't yet been mentioned: Teahupoo's banner year.

You may have noticed that Teahupoo has been without any entries in the Big Wave Awards for the last few years, or that freesurfer clips out of Tahiti have been sparse. That's because, as Tahitian Tikanui Smith said back in April, "It's been a long time since we've had good swell here. Couple of years maybe. At least."

It's not like there's been no swell at Teahupoo, just a surprising lack of consistency with long bouts of small waves punctuated by a lone swell before returning to another extended run of mediocrity. The Tahiti Open has suffered without the big heavy stuff - the last really big year was 2014 with KS and Gabs in the final.

Asked when the last great Teahupoo season was, Swellnet forecaster Craig Brokensha said 2015. "That was when the Point Break footage with Laurie Towner and Dylan Longbottom was filmed, with multiple tow swells in the year."

Long time local Simon Thornton puts it even further back, saying this year is, "Probably the best season since 2014. In 2015 Owen [Wright] came a few times and there was some nice swells, but I'd say it's the best in five years."

You can argue the record, but everyone agrees this year has been stellar. Shortly after Smith bemoaned the lack of swell, an extraordinary run of waves began with a new crew of Teahupoo locals taking the talent level into the stratosphere. We're still yet to see a true blue tow-only swell, but the number of double to triple-overhead days is far beyond anything seen since 2015.

Forecast from mid to late May

"Teahupoo loves swell from cold fronts that are steered up and past New Zealand's East Coast," explains Brokensha, "these provide the really big, thick, and frightening west bowl sets. There was one of these a couple of weeks ago, but most of the swells have been produced just a little further east and south, producing more perfect and southerly swells in the 8-10ft range."

Either way, for good swell at Teahupoo the Long Wave Trough has to be positioned east of New Zealand, and this has been the case more times than not over the last few months.

Forecast from late June to mid July

So the big question, of course, is whether the bumper year will continue for another month? The Tahiti Open starts in a bit over three weeks.

"Well, currently we've got the opposite of what you want for Teahupoo, which could be a blessing in disguise," says Brokensha. Some downtime now could mean the reef is again due some energy by the time the pros arrive.

"Cut-off lows are sitting in Tahiti's swell window, producing large and rare pulses of easterly groundswell for New Zealand. This is due to a large upper blocking pattern. This is a worst case scenario for Teahupoo."

"However, as we move into the start of August, a strong new node [of the Long Wave Trough] is forecast to develop just east of New Zealand, sending large surf towards Tahiti for the 7-10th of August, a week and a bit before it kicks off on the 21st."

Last year Toledo grabbed some heavy water experience arriving in Tahiti two weeks before the competition started. He got the waves, took some punishment, but ultimately didn't need it as the contest was held in small surf.

Hopefully he's been watching the charts this year.

(Homepage photo of FT at Teahupoo taken last year by Dominic Mosquera)

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 12:45pm

You weren’t lying about Tahiti’s run of waves , Stu.

Those forecasts are incredible.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 12:58pm

Crap Aus snow season coincides with strong Tahiti swell season?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:02pm

That's not what the resort's PR departments were saying after the big pre-season dump!

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:21pm

Yes well, put it this way I live 2 hours drive away and I haven't launched a business case with the minister of home affairs for an Aus pow day of split boarding. I believe Craig may have capitalised on the early fall but it's been pretty slim pickings since.

I was wondering whether in general the low pressure systems are lower and that's why Vic has had pretty good swell but the systems aren't pushing up into the mountains.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:06pm

The current blocking pattern..

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:18pm

Puuumping E swell on our dark little rainy Islands :-)

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:20pm

Jealous, though not of the frigid waters!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:27pm

13-14C, so toasty in a 4/3.

Warm sun and no wind, though.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:32pm

Not too bad at all!

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 7:32pm

You can keep it

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Saturday, 27 Jul 2019 at 9:14am

That is fine with booties and a cap. I haven't felt cold all year and I have to plug Quicky as the 3/4 I have is sooo warm. Northerners don't know what they are missing and the days have been warm 15-17º in Victoria top temps.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 26 Jul 2019 at 1:46pm

fuk that

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Saturday, 27 Jul 2019 at 8:51am

I like how no one is considering how consistent Kolohe Andino is surfing and his chance of bringing it home for the yanks. Even betting agencies are paying 8-1, way above the odds of guys like Medina and Toledo. What’s his current ranking? Giddy up!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 28 Jul 2019 at 7:06am

Kolohe, is definitely on the radar
He is in yellow and suprisingly... Has skills at teahupoo ...actually all venues forward.
Im hoping he wins the whole thing.

Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben commented Monday, 29 Jul 2019 at 10:43pm

Insane tube riding by both!! Mason fits into everything and I love Mick’s stand tall barells and belt the crap out of the open face carves! Beauuutiful

Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben's picture
Johan Wohlleben commented Monday, 29 Jul 2019 at 10:48pm

Oops wrong thread but you know what I mean!

kavachi's picture
kavachi's picture
kavachi commented Tuesday, 30 Jul 2019 at 8:55pm

anyone else seeing what ECM reckons Southern Ocean's gonna throw at Fiji next week? Jesus Joyce, that gradient on Fri-Sat is fkn nuts.
enough even to make Laurie Towner pull the finger out

kavachi's picture
kavachi's picture
kavachi commented Tuesday, 30 Jul 2019 at 8:58pm

enough energy in that fetch to make the End of the Road rumble too, deflower a few CT'rs

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Thursday, 1 Aug 2019 at 9:24am

Kalohay couldn't win a meat tray at the bowlo I say.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 10:59am

Start of the waiting period looking meh based on the end of the current model run. Should be a good warm up swell off the back of this weekends se Aus cold outbreak, the system keeps giving as it passes NZ