Sliding The Pass

Posted by Roark on

The surf-stars align for swell and conditions at a particularly dreamy reef pass setup in Tuamotu

Dreamy, ain't it? Photo: Dylan Gordon

Words by Beau Flemister

A couple hours off of Makatea, the hazy, raised atoll shrinking behind us, and we’re celebrating with Hinanos again. The seas were really smooth, despite the weather that had come days before. It was quite comfortable too, and the captain, Alex, was a really fun guy. Tereva, our Tahitian surf guide was super-fun, too. Over the course of the next few days that we were on the boat, Ra’i, who was sort of the chef and the first mate, would make us all kind of delicacies. Every single meal she made was just absolutely delicious.

Taking the the sights. Photo: Dylan Gordon

She’d pull out braised lamb from nowhere, and we were just like, ‘Where the hell did she even get that from?!’ And then, of course, all the fish was just absolutely amazing, cooked so many different ways. We had coconut crab one night, too, which was insane. She even cooked us this stuff called, pain du mort, basically “dead bread,” where she reanimated these ends of stale baguettes by making them into French toast, and it was just epic.

Jeff Johnson, quiver check. Photo: Drew Smith

So we sailed through the night to get to the next atoll to the north-northwest called Tikehau. Tikehau has this world-class wave, a super, super dreamy, perfect righthander that peels around a reef pass that looks like a point break, and it’s kind of the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. We get there in the morning, and it’s firing, and there’s about eight people in the water.

Not your local break. Photo: Dylan Gordon

One of them was Tahitian surf god (and Pipe Master) Michel Bourez, plus his cousin, and so we sail through the pass, and there’s a perfect overhead right rifling around one side — and then across the pass is a perfect left slab spitting it’s guts out on the other. Then we just anchored inside the lagoon right inside of the two waves, and there’s a little fishing village there. We gear up all the boards and stuff, and get zipped to the little coral beach there. You can just walk along either through the island or right up the little motu’s shoreline, and then just post up in these gorgeous little coconut leaf surf shacks right there for shade.

Beau Flemister, on the left. Photo: Dylan Gordon

Then, basically, for the following four to five days or so, we surfed our brains out, for a total of eight hours a day sometimes. The right was really good. The left was actually a little bit bigger and a little gnarlier, and we’d kind of go between the two. At the right, there was a couple sessions where it was just me and Jeff surfing on our own, because it was the middle of the day, and maybe some of the people that were around surfing didn’t want to be out in the heat.

Harrison Roach, on the left. Photo: Dylan Gordon

So that was pretty special, unforgettable moment, and when we went to go surf the left, which no one was surfing, either somwhow. It was just me, Nate, Harrison, and Tereva on the lefthander, and it was a little bit bigger, a little more powerful, and a little shallower, but tubing better than the right. The right had some tubes, too, but that wave was longer, and kind of a slingshot-y type of a point break feel. It was probably two days of really good waves, and then, on the end of the second day or so, LJ appeared.

Nate Zoller on the right. Photo: Drew Smith

He showed up, and he got to surf a couple great sessions, even though the next couple days were a little smaller. He did get some good waves on the left, though, and we explored the island, the motu right there, and went swimming, and surfed some more, and kind of went around the island, did a little bit of fishing. We were running out of beer, so I did a beer run where I basically just caught a ride with a local fisherman to go across the lagoon, and got some slabs of Hinano.

LJ on the left. Photo: Dylan Gordon

They’re pretty expensive, and it was like a three or four-hour affair for me to get them, because the guy I went with, he was selling fish he had caught, just kind of going door to door to sell what he caught. Then, if someone wanted to buy it, he had to fillet it all right there. It was a whole thing, but it was pretty classic, because I definitely got to see a real local slice of life on Tikehau, which was really, really cool.

Liquid Gold. Photo: Dylan Gordon

Then we actually didn’t even sail back to Tahiti island because we wanted to maximize surf time before all of us had to go home, so we just flew back, and had a night, and then left the following morning, from Tahiti to fly home.

So many waves, it was a blur. Photo: Dylan Gordon

We did go back to this one Italian restaurant and it was very delicious and very boozy. Meanwhile, Harrison had gone home a little bit earlier after LJ came, and he, Drew, and the two runners went over to Mo’orea, the neighboring island to Tahiti, and they went hiking, trail running around there, and cruised and stuff. Mo’orea’s super gorgeous, with barely anybody, and you can take a little fast ferry over within an hour. And that’s about it. That was the Mystic Motu. Three motus which were particularly mystic: Ahe, Makatea and Tikehau.

Farewell. Photo: Drew Smith