Women surfers return to Olympic wave at 'End of the Road'

"Watching the women surf-challenging heavy-water waves shows the younger generation what is possible and that women belong in these lineups," said Jessi Miley-Dyer of the World Surf League.

Published: 17th August 2022 11:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2022 11:53 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

For representational purposes

By AFP

TEAHUPOO: Elite women surfers returned to competition at "the world's heaviest wave" in Tahiti on Wednesday, ending a 16-year absence and taste of the daunting challenge at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

For the first time since 2006, members of the women's World Surf League are competing in Teahupoo, a wave respected and feared by boardriders worldwide. Flanked by verdant cloud-touched volcanoes, Teahupo'o looks like a tropical idyl.

But a short distance from the shoreline is what surfers call "The End of the Road", a near-vertical drop into a heavy wave that barrels over a razor-sharp reef.

At times it appears that the whole ocean is exploding onto the reef and even the slightest mistake can be punished by a fall into cheese-grater-like coral, where at least one person has died in recent years.

Adding to the drama, Teahupo'o is set to be the location of the surfing event at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Tahiti is in French Polynesia in the Pacific.

Top male surfers compete at Teahupo'o regularly, but for a long time, the spot had been deemed too dangerous for women, causing anger and allegations of misogyny.

"This wave is difficult for anyone to surf, male or female," said Keala Kennelly, an award-winning big wave surfer who has won multiple titles at Teahupo'o.

"It's one of the heaviest, most dangerous waves in the world. I assure you that this wave doesn't care about your gender, it will destroy you if it wants to," she told AFP.

Teahupo'o was a long way off its fiercest for the first day of competition on Wednesday, but a bigger swell is forecast for the rest of the event, which is scheduled to finish on August 21.

Among the first to paddle out in the heats were seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia and Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Carissa Moore from Hawaii.

"Watching the women surf-challenging heavy-water waves shows the younger generation what is possible and that women belong in these lineups," said Jessi Miley-Dyer of the World Surf League.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp