Yet after hearing Dylan Longbottom’s before-n-after account of ‘the wave’ - the giant worm-hole Manoa Drollet is pictured riding on all the BB Pro 2010 event merch and official artwork – it’s clear a 20-foot day at Teahupo’o ain’t much different to a 10-foot day at Pipeline or a two-foot day at Snapper.Everyone who is out there is essentially driven by the same thing; greed.
Dylan, who flew from Australia for the peak of the giant swell, recalls bobbing in the water for around 45 minutes, ski engine off, the tow line slack with his mate, Manoa, at its end – as they waited for something really special.Most waves that day were monstrous, turning inside out across the coral reef, more mutant than beauty.
“Nah,” he says, “That one was different. We saw that thing coming from a mile out.” When the monster loomed, Dylan fired the ski, the rope went taught and Manoa was pulled to his feet.“We usually try and start right up the reef,” explains Dyl. “So instead of coming in, then having to turn, which can be pretty sketchy, we track along with the swell.” Thing was, a couple of the other tow teams out there wanted the monster too.
Two other surfers (one I’ll call “Toto” and the other “Baird”) made their intentions for the wave clear, hanging tight, their wakes crossing as their pilots chose their lines and steered into battle like aviators in a dog fight. As the monster beneath them began to grow and take shape on the reef, it was then that Dylan realised they were in a situation.“I wasn’t sure if the other guys were going to pull off, but I figured with Manoa on the back there was a chance they would, so I just gunned it and tried to get him in the perfect position,” says Dyl.
Localism counts for lots, especially among the proud indigenous surf tribes like those of the Polynesians and Hawaiians, and Dyl’s hopes were realised.With seconds to spare, Baird signalled to his driver to abandon the wave. Toto was less reluctant, but eventually had little option. Two surfers on such a monster is risking fatality.
Fifteen seconds later, it’s all over. Manoa has ridden, and survived, one of the most incredible rides ever at Teahupo’o.
But Toto is fuming.
He rides close and hurls abuse at the pair, stuff like, “That was my wave!” and other quotes that cannot be repeated here in this blog.
However, history has been made and the photographers are happy with their lot.
Manoa’s reputation as the young Crown Prince of Teahupo’o grows eminently wider.Toto, Baird and the rest are alive and will fight another day.
When asked if he would wear it, he fondled it and smiled as he studied the image of himself, poised in a casual survival stance, his balls to the wall.
“Nah, I don’t think so. But my dad would like it.”
For more info see the Billabong Pro Tahiti event page