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TEAHUPOO - Legend, True Meaning, True Story

Author: ASP World Tour

So, do you really know what it means Teahupoo!? You better think twice! To start with, please make sure you have the correct pronunciation, not the "westernize" - "Chope-oo" or "Chopes" - or whatever you hear around the world these days. Just like you want people to pronounce your country's name right, your own name right, make an effort to pronounce the name right! Teahupoo - Te-a-hu-po-o in English, the "Te" of Te-nnesee, "a" of A-merica, "hu" of Hula, "po" of poke, and you can add an extended "o". Is not that hard isn't it, and sure much more phonetically beautiful.

But what it means Teahupoo? So many (non-sense) has been said, you hear all kinds of things, like "End of the Road", "Respect for the King", "Respect for the Head", and the list goes on.

So I dig around and did a bit of research, starting with the family I have been staying for the last 5 years here in Tahiti, the Parkers, that own most of the land in this vast flat area after the river named Fauoro.

Well, "Po'o" it has been always an easy one as everyone seems to know that it means "head". My Tahitian Mama and Papa guaranteed me that "Teahai" means "to shave" or at least similar to that, so "Teahupo'o would mean something like the "shaved head" or the "scraped head". Considering what the wave actually does with many of the surfers, "scrapping" not only their heads but also their bodies, you would think that is actually an appropriate name. Don't get to comfortable with the information.

According to Peva Levy, local historian, Teahupoo is in fact the name of the place, not the name of the break! The name of the reef pass created by the river that collects the waters from the mountains behind the place is "Havae". It is quite a wide and deep pass compared with the normal reef passes around not only Tahiti but also the whole of the French Polynesia. The name of the actual break, the break where you see all those incredible waves in photos and videos is "Pererure", and as many famous surf breaks it has its own legend as well.

It tells the story that the first surfer to ride waves in Pererure (for us Teahupoo) was in fact a girl! She was a very beautiful and brave Tahitian female called "Vehiatua"! If you wonder, Vehiatua means "Cult of God"! Vehiatua managed to control the power of these incredible yet dangerous waves and surf them with grace. Because the place was very dangerous the girl named it "Pererure". Teahupoo's chief became very jealous of Vehiatua's ability to surf such dangerous waves that ended up killing the girl expecting to absorb her skills to master the art of riding Pererure's waves. He tried many times but he was never capable of riding the waves of Pererure. Vehiatua's best friend when find out about the Chief's crime, killed him as well.

So there we go, next time you call your friends to watch the Billabong Pro in Tahiti, tell them the waves are going off in Pererure and give them a bit of Tahitian history lesson about Te-a-hu-po-o! Mauruuru!

Renato Hickel

WCT Tour Manager

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