Billabong Pro Tahiti: The Homie Blog With Manny Raya
So there's a comedian touring California right now by the name of Frankie Quinonez, who has a skit about Mexican Americans and their affinity for using the word "crazy." It's actually really funny because if you pay attention to your Chicano friends you may come to find that they use the word in almost every situation. I actually did it today with Bobby, (after telling him about Frankie's skit) and he found that he says "crazy" all of the time. Come to think of it I say it all the time. Try it at home with your Chicano friends and see what they say. Crazy comes in all situations, situations that are actually crazy and situations that aren't.
Tell your friend that you got in a car accident, "I totally wrecked my car today!" You know how they're gonna respond? I'll tell you, "Damn that's crazy, ay." Tell your friend you got in a fight with your significant other, "dude, me and my chick got into it today—it was pretty gnarly" What are they gonna respond with? You got it "Seriously? Damn that's crazy" Tell your friend about your workday, "dude, today was the longest day ever at work." I bet you they'll respond with a "damn that's crazy ay."
So in explaining Tahiti to you in today's blog what do you think I'm going to tell you? I'm going to tell you the honest truth: Its pretty crazy, ay!
Click HERE to check out some photos from the Teahupo'o swell a couple days ago
The day actually did start off pretty crazy after waking up to torrential rain. When I first woke up I thought that the swell must have filled in overnight because I heard what I thought were crashing waves. Unbeknownst to me it was actually a combination of pouring rain mixed in with thunder and lightning. In the midst of the storm we decided to go surf, so we had some coffee and got ready to head to Teahupo'o.
Getting ready was a little different for me then it was for the pros staying at the house. Getting ready consisted of me laying down relaxing while the WCT guys stretched and got ready to surf. While the guys were getting ready I went outside to take a look at our surroundings and found that this part of Tahiti is just like the island from Jurassic Park—big and green. In front of the house there are giant, peaky, lush green mountains, with little waterfalls in the middle. In the back of the house there's a little lagoon where the boats that we use to go to Teahupo'o are parked. The place we're staying at is pretty sick. It's a big house with one-bed bungalows surrounding it. In the main house there's tons of beds everywhere. This place is like a giant dorm except our dorm is occupied by the Hobgood the Gudauskas brothers, Brett Simpson, Bobby Martinez and a few other pros.
Going to Teahupo'o was an adventure in and of itself. It turns out that we have to push the boats out of the docking area by standing in knee high water. Before I got in the water Bobby told me to make sure I was wearing sandals because it seems that there are stonefish in the water and stepping on them could lead to my untimely death. Needless to say the whole experience was pretty crazy. Once on the boat it took about a five-minute drive to get to Teahupo'o (going 5 mph). Now, if you've seen the wave in videos you probably think of a thick-lipped, dark blue wave. Well, when we got there the wave was pretty thick, not gigantic but maybe around head high plus. As for the dark blue water, well that was nowhere to be found. The water was actually really murky which lead me to check the scene out before I paddled out. To be honest with you I know I'm not the best swimmer in the world and hearing all the gnarly stories people tell about Teahupo'o, I was pretty sketched out. Once I decided that I was going to man up and paddle out (I think the courage came from Tahitian cuisine in me from last night's dinner), the craziest thing happened. Out of nowhere this thick dark fog came in. You know when you're watching a movie and some demonic witch chants out a spell and the clouds start churning in the sky? Yeah it was like that. The fog was accompanied by heavy drops of rain, which came pouring down in buckets and to top that off I was paddling out into one of the scariest waves on the planet. Instead of getting in the lineup I turned my merry behind around and headed back to the boat. Bobby and C.J shortly followed.
Getting back to the house, we ate some lunch made to us by our hosts Momma and Poppa Teva. After a few hours of lounging we decided it was time to head back to Teahupo'o aka Chopes and go for another surf. The second time around Chopes was the kind of wave you see in the videos. It was a beautiful dark blue. Paddling around in the stuff was amazing and I was in awe of the experience. The dark blue water, the barreling left hand wave, the green mountains in the background, it was all really amazing. I got into the lineup and watched the boys surf for a bit. Bobby, Tanner and Patrick Gudauskas, Nate Yeomans and all the boys got pretty sick waves. Some were getting waves that offered up carving space while others got peaky and pitching left hand barrels. After a while of sitting out there, Bobby paddles up to me and explains the reef to me so that I would know what I was getting myself into. Fully aware of my situation I decided it was time to go for a wave. Ready to charge Chopes for the first time I looked around and notice I wasn't in the inside anymore. Somehow I managed to be on the outside and a set was coming my way. The set was thick and heavy; as soon as I saw it I knew it was too heavy for me. I paddled to the side and over it as C.J had instructed me and managed to avoid it. If you've never been to Teahupo'o and paddle out there for the first time it's a really intimidating place. I have images of giant waves coming from the outside lodged in my brain. I have Freddy P's voice from last years webcast in my head saying that if you don't have your equipment dialed and aren't a great surfer you shouldn't be out there. The place is pretty crazy, ay!
I didn't catch a wave today. I paddled for a few but never got into one. Bobby's thin board coupled with my heavy body and nerves didn't afford me the opportunity to get into one on this day. The 'CT boys ripped and got what they call fun little waves and we returned back to our place. Once back to base we youtube'd Victor Ortiz and watched some boxing highlights. We ate dinner, talked for a while, and I turned in to write this story. Bobby's laying down waiting to hear it and the rest of the boys are downstairs at the dinner table still hanging out. Tomorrow will be a new day. The boys are all frothing to go for another surf. They're hoping it will be bigger then it was today, but the reports all say that it may actually be smaller. As for me I'm hoping the reports are true so that I can catch a few waves at the legendary spot they call Chopes, because man, just catching one wave here… well, that'd be pretty crazy, ay?—Manny Raya
Who is Manny Raya? Manny is one of Bobby Martinez's best friends and on occasion gets to go with Bobby to stops on the World Championship Tour. We hung out with Manny and Bobby this past May in Oaxaca and after learning that Manny was in the process of becoming a professor at San Francisco State University, we signed him up for a few projects. We hope you enjoy his reporting from the Billabong Pro Tahiti, he'll be doing the write ups as long as Bobby's still in the event…