Aussie slab slayer Mark Mathews was just one of many big wave hellmen who traveled to Tahiti last week. Once the adrenalin died down we asked Mark to give us his thoughts on the swell and use some of his Instagold.
Describe the three days?
It was the craziest swell event I’ve ever seen. Four days straight of 10ft+ barrels and even the day after was 4-6 foot and pumping today.
How did it compare to some of the other sessions you have had out there?
I have only been here once before and it was only 6-8 ft so surfing a monster swell here has been on the top of my bucket list for years. It is definitely the most amazing wave on the planet!
Did you get any bombs? And who are you towing with?
Na not really any bombs. We didn’t have a ski. Luckily our good friend Everaldo “Pato” Teixeira shared his ski with us. Plus Kamalei Alexander whipped us into some fun ones, but it’s hard to get many waves when there are five people to one ski. And there were 14 other skis out there all fighting for the bombs. I’ll tell you what though, you learn quick who your real friends are when you’re in the channel trying to get a tow.
Who was out there? Who were the standouts?
Pretty much every big wave surfer you can name. From Dorian to Laird. Raimana, Manoa, Healey, Laurie, Hippo, Richie, Dingo etc etc etc. It’s hard to say who stood out, everyone was going so nuts! I think Hippo was the stand out paddling and I loved watching Laurie Towner when he was getting whipped in. He gets deeper than everyone and just looks so casual.
It seemed like the whole big-wave world moved there. What was the vibe like?
It was a little crazy in the water the first few days because everyone was jostling for waves. But on land everyone is friends. There has been about 10 of us staying in a house together so it’s been real fun. Dinners have been fun, with 20 or so packed into the one little restaurant all talking about the waves that day.
From the footage the crowd seems insane? How was it regulated? Or did it work itself out? Or was it super dangerous?
Manoa, Raimana, Poto get all the bombs whether they’re driving or surfing and everyone else scrambles for everything else. They way it should be. But it was super dangerous because you end up in positions you really don’t want to be in.
Highlights, low lights, best moment so far etc, number of Hinanos drunk etc
Koa Rothman’s big bomb was insane! So was one of Raimana’s it was about 30 foot and Reef had to bail out under it. He said the shock wave blew him and his board straight out the back. And then so many other guys got nuts ones to it’s just one big blur. There were some heavy moments. Sancho had a really heavy wipeout and was knocked unconscious but was luckily popped up in the channel and was rescued then taken to hospital to get stitched up. Reef busted 2 ribs and popped his ear drum paddling. Hippo had to go get his foot stitched up. Makua had to get his mouth stiched. The guy we are staying with Ryan Gallina had to get his head stapled up. I came up coughing blood after one wipe out. Richie Vass got caught by a 15 footer and blown into the lagoon. His board disintegrated and was never to be seen again. Of course it didn’t hurt him. He’s just relaxing between fights!
Did you see the comp in Rio today and think, maybe the top 32 ain’t the place to be?
Nah, I just think it was rough for them. I’m sure there where so many of them that wanted to be here.