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VIDEO: Living on the edge

A reef break on the southwest coast of Tahiti, Teahupo’o is known for generating some of the world’s heaviest and most intense waves.

Unique bathymetry brings deep water up over a semicircular living reef in shallow water, creating a tremendous energy mass. All of the surfing greats have tackled Teahupo’o, but as this video shows, even the guys who aren’t standing on a waxed board are living on the edge when they get into the water with this barrel machine.

In this clip, posted to YouTube on Jan. 14, a group of photographers and tow givers are waiting for the pros to catch these monsters — but even spectating has its risks. A mighty wallop is heard as the videographer’s boat is slammed and a small green boat shoots almost straight up, perpendicular to the horizon — a few seconds later and he’d have been pitchpoled to a spectacular demise.

Kind of makes us glad we’re just surfing the net today.