Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Home Travel In Teahupo’o, Tahiti, coastal village life thrives among powerful waves

In Teahupo’o, Tahiti, coastal village life thrives among powerful waves

by Staff

TEAHUPO’O, French Polynesia (AP) — In Teahupo’o, the ocean is the heart of village life.

Boats bob in the lagoon in the south of Tahiti at sunrise before fishers start their day. Many set out early with poles or spears to catch fish gliding among the corals — fresh food for them, their families and their community.

By the afternoon, a freshly caught fat tuna arrives onshore. The coast, too, is livelier now: kids surf and play in the turquoise ocean, families rest on the beach where the sea and river meet, and the sole snack bar is open for a fish lunch.

But it’s Teahupo’o’s awesome wave that catches many people’s attention. The impressively high walls of water — formed as the ocean rushes across a large and very shallow coral reef — crash into perfect cylinders for surfers to glide through.

Surfers may arrive in Teahupo’o from around the world for its mighty waves, but unlike many other destinations globally that have become hotspots for surfers or other athletes looking for nature’s perfect conditions, village life for locals remains largely unspoiled.

There is only one road that leads up to Teahupo’o’s beaches, and its black sand shores are surrounded by lush green volcanic mountains. Tuna is sold by the roadside, while people play music nearby. Locals sit in the shallow waters for a drink after work with friends. Surfers pass by, boards under their arms, still glistening from the water.

It’s the life that many Tahiti locals cherish and want to protect, even as hundreds descend onto the town that will become host to the 2024 Olympics surfing competition, threatening the ways of a local population of around 1,500 people.

For Teahupo’o’s locals, their wave, its fame, and their way of life have always coexisted. Their hope is that it will continue long after the crowds and the hubbub of the Games disappears.


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