Let’s set the scene. The ocean is dead calm on the surface. Several dozen boats full of spectators, team members, support staff and photographers sit in a deep channel of water at the bottom of a perfect reef pass.
Two surfers sit on the shallow reef, waiting. Then it happens. Out of deep water on the horizon they come. Huge walls of water approach the reef and the two surfers scramble to get in position. These waves are the height of a two-story building and sound like thunder from a lightning strike, so close there’s no time between flash and bang.
I guarantee if you are one of said onlookers at the bottom of the reef, your heart is in your mouth. You’ve almost certainly never seen anything like this before.
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Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Owen Wright is one of the surfers, Gabrielle Medina the other. Welcome to the venue for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The wave known as Teahupoo, meaning ‘end of the road’ in Tahitian.
The moment previously described was the 2019 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Wright beats Medina, just like in Japan, but it’s for a trophy not the medal.
Supporters of The Irukandjis Australian Surfing Team heading towards the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will love this one. “Big O” hasn’t finished worse than the quarter finals in his last seven starts at Teahupoo and intends on bettering that moving towards surfing’s second Olympic Games.
“I’m definitely confident in my ability at Teahupoo. I have a really solid record in any conditions out there so I’m going to back myself against anyway no matter how big or small the waves are on the day,” Wright said in an exclusive interview.
Japan was great, Japan was exciting, but for the average spectator this next Games has the potential to blow surfing up to never seen before levels if Tahiti’s ‘Teahupoo’ delivers an earth-shaking long period swell event like we’ve seen in the past.
“The wave can be intimidating if you don’t have the right mindset,” Wright said.
“It’s all about confidence in your own ability and backing yourself when the right wave comes. Having won an event there in the past, I’m looking for one thing only if I can qualify for Paris 2024, and that’s a gold medal.”
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