"I almost didn't think it was surfable," says Mason Ho of his very first glimpse of Teahupoo in the flesh. And if you're familiar with Mason's work -- the dry reef, the cliff faces, the waves no one else is willing to go near -- you'll know that "unsurfable" isn't a term that features prominently in his vocabulary. And yet, as he reaches the End of the Road and sees the giant, windswept sets raging through the line-up, he says: "It looks like a day off to me."

Fortunately for us, and ultimately for Mason too, Bruno Santos wasn't letting him get out of it that easily.