From what I'd seen of Koa last winter, especially during the Volcom Pipe Pro, I was pretty excited to see him take on Teahupo'o. Unfortunately we didn't end up surfing it bigger than 4 feet.
This is Small Pass, right in front of where Raimana lives. Water drains out this channel creating some crazy good sections.
John was putting on a clinic here. He was catching a wave every couple minutes. After a ride, the current pulls you straight back into the takeoff spot.
The channel here has to be the best viewing in any sport. You could sit courtside and maybe Lebron dives on you saving an out of bounds ball, or you could sit here and maybe high-five John John after he gets spit out of a huge barrel. We only pulled up for a few minutes to check it this day, but witnessing this single wave explode on the point was one of the coolest things ever.
None of us expected to be scoring this random right when we booked our tickets a couple days prior. When you stay with Raimana though, you know he'll get you the best waves possible.
Definitely more of a deep water wave than Teahupo'o. The peak shifts around and breaks in different spots. This is Nathan Florence on his first wave.
The left was just a mirage that day but Raimana told us on the right swell, this spot flips sides and does the same thing going the other way.
Timmy Reyes flew in the night before and stayed at Michel Bourez's house. We didn't even know they we're coming until they pulled up in a boat, but it was nice having those guys out there to push the level up even more.
This is a later frame from the cover shot. To me it felt like watching the Jacksonville Jaguars score a winning touchdown or something. John said when he kicked out and looked back, all he saw was Blake Kueny and I high-fiving and celebrating. I was high-fiving the boat driver, yelling and dancing around like an idiot. Blake is John's personal filmier so he's a little more accustom to watching that stuff. I can't help myself, I get really excited.
Domenic Mosqueira is a photographer who's been sending us epic images from Tahiti over the past three years. He's originally from Mexico, has lived in Europe and speaks four languages fluently. Dom even tried shooting fisheye this day, which is crazy. Raimana dropped him in a spot and he got cleaned up badly but was all smiles after.
Nathan getting into another bomb. It almost looks like a shoulder right here but the wave ended up running way down the reef and he got one of the deeper barrels of the day.
This is a frame from the double spread sequence in our new issue. John's shaper Pyzel told him to ride this board (a 5'10" with an inch of the nose broken off) at Lowers and waves of that sort. When you're this good, I guess you just make it work anywhere.
We ate here at Snack Laphie everyday. It's about 100 yards from the house and the food is super good.
Our last day we took a two hour boat ride through stormy seas over to Moorea. When we pulled up and saw the waves, morale was low. The boys paddled out anyway. Minutes later, a rain squall turned the winds offshore.
The wave is a pointbreak combined with a wedge. It has at least four crazy barrel sections, you can backdoor each one. Only problem is, the reef is so shallow. Only a foot or two deep in where the lip lands. This is Nathan on the inside section.
Michel Bourez surfs here all the time. He was stomping over the coral rocks on the beach like it was nothing.
John loves documenting things. He bought a RED Scarlet and also shoots with a Leica and Polaroid on every trip. Here's some of his Polaroid photos.
Pretty classic group shot with our boat driver Eric pissing in the background on the way back from Moorea.