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Laird Hamilton and The Millenium Wave

August 17, 2000 : This day, big wave rider Laird Hamilton, one of the pioneers of big wave and toe in surfing was about to meet Teahupoo (cho-poo). The Tahitian reef break of Teahupoo is recognized as one of the meanest and thickest big waves on the planet. The mass of water above the barrel of these waves is greater than the volume of air inside the tube and they break on shallow 4ft reef. Its heavy!

Lairdand his crew spent a few days in Tahiti surfing 10 ft swells and some of the heaviest reef breaks they had ever surfed but he just wasn't happy with his performance.

He and his crew where ready lo leave Tahiti as news of another bigger swell was approaching. They knew it was going to be heavy but never expected what was to happen. The next day they went out with 2 filming boats and 2 tow-in jetskis cruising through the Teahupoo reef pass at dawn.

The swell was big and dangerous due to it's west direction. Every glassy tube was spitting and imploding on the last bowl section. Before they headed off into the line up Laird Hamilton and his tow-in partner Nelson Kubach toke a few minutes to pray. They knew that they where going to be up against were some of the most dangerous conditions ever surfed.

At 11:38 a 'rogue' wave twice the size as the regular waves rolled in. Laird dropped the tow rope and started to speed down the face of the wall. The 30' foot face created a huge perfect tube as laird positioned himself in the cavern. His line and survival stance was perfect. The spit of the wave made him disappear as all the boats and film crew scrambled so not to get hit by the monster. As they where speeding out of the impact zone, out came Laird out of a cloud of white water right next to the camera crew. He had just pulled in and survived the meanest tube ever surfed.

The 20 or so privileged spectators screaming in horror and joy said it was the most amazing surfing performance ever witnessed. After that wave, Laird went back to one of the boats to rest. Realizing what he had just accomplished he sat down, put his head in his hands and meditated cried tears of joy.

words by:

Tim McKenna



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