Teahupo?o is a village on the south-west coast of the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, southern Pacific Ocean. It is known for the surf break and heavy, glassy waves offshore, often reaching 2 to 3 m (7 to 10 ft), and sometimes up to 7 meters (21 feet). It is the site of the annual Billabong Pro Tahiti surf competition, part of the World Championship Tour (WCT) of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour surfing circuit and used to be one stop in the World Tour of the International Bodyboarding Association. Bodyboarding pioneers Mike Stewart and Ben Severson were the first to surf Teahupo’o in 1986 and it soon became an underground spot for thrill-seeking bodyboarders. Few professional surfers rode Teahupo’o during the early 1990s and it was only in 1998, at the Gotcha Tahiti Pro, that Teahupo’o became widely recognized as having some of the heaviest waves in the world. On August 17, 2000 Laird Hamilton is credited with surfing the “heaviest wave” ever ridden, documented in the film Riding Giants. In 2003 the late Malik Joyeux successfully rode one of the largest waves ever ridden.
On October 31, 2008 surfer Ian Walsh towed the biggest Teahupo?o wave of the season. Video footage of this ride was later used in a Red Bull energy drink ad campaign seen around the world.Keala Kennelly was the first woman to tow-surf Teahupo’o in May 2005, getting a 10-foot barrel ahead of the Billabong Tahiti Pro contest.This challenging break has been conquered by many top windsurfers, including Jason Polakow and Levi Siver. Yannick Salmon was the first kitesurfer to ride Teahupo’o, however, it was incorrectly written in publications that others had ridden it before him. Jeremie Eloy and Julien Sudrat kitesurfed the wave after Yannick.
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia; an overseas collectivity of the French Republic, sometimes referred to as an overseas country.The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, and is divided into two parts: The bigger, northwestern part Tahiti Nui and the smaller, southeastern part Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 183,645 inhabitants (2012 census), making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.5% of its total population. Tahiti was formerly known as Otaheite.
Tahiti is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The capital of the collectivity, Pape’ete, is located on the northwest coast with the only international airport in the region, Fa’a’? International Airport, situated 5 km (3.1 mi) from the town centre.
Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between 300 and 800 CE. They represent about 70% of the island’s population with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese and those of mixed heritage. The island was proclaimed a colony of France in 1880 although it was not until 1946 that the indigenous Tahitians were legally authorised to be French citizens. French is the only official language although the Tahitian language (Reo Maohi) is widely spoken. It was part of the Kingdom of Tahiti until its annexation by France in 1880.