New Caledonian waterman Clement Colmas takes on Teahupo’o with his wing-foil and gets rewarded
WORDS: Clément Colmas
PHOTOS: Ben Thouard
Teahupoo is legendary for its insane power and the commitment it requires from the rider, as I know having ridden it with a regular surfboard. I have never felt speed like that on any other wave.
This was the first time I’ve ridden it on a foil and also the first time with the wing.
The waves were hollow enough to take tubes, but thankfully not so big that it was unfeasible on a foil. The spot is notoriously shallow, but if you’re riding a wave big enough there is little risk of hitting the reef with your foil. Using the wing I was towed into the wave far from the shallow section where I’d have to be if paddling into my take-off.
I went out there gradually, each time committing myself more and more. When the wave takes you closer to the reef it’s not the same game any more! If you fall you need to get into the lagoon on the other side of the reef as quickly as possible before you and your gear get destroyed by the wave and dragged very quickly onto the shallow reef.
When the wave picks up I felt like I was dropping down the wave again with a big increase in speed that I needed to carefully manage with my legs. Fortunately my Kujira 750 cm² front wing helped a lot with control. I could accelerate without my front wing wanting to lift too hard out of the water due to the increased lift from the high speed.
In this kind of powerful wave, having good, trustworthy equipment is essential. I was riding on the Takuma 40 litre TK board with an 85cm mast and the Kujira 750 wing set.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but in the end we were lucky to have had such great conditions for a first experience wingfoiling on this type of wave. I have amazing memories and a good dose of adrenaline kicks back in just thinking about it again!