The Islands of Tahiti is preparing to host the surfing competition of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The venue is Teahupo’o, and its legendary wave ‘jaws’. Frightening, yet magnificent, this immense wave in the Hava’e pass already attracts the best surfers from all over the world, and in 2024, they’ll be competing for Olympic gold!
Legendary, unique, extreme; the descriptions don’t do justice to the incredible power of ‘jaws’, the monster wave at the Hava’e pass in the village of Teahupo’o. This small village in the southwest of Tahiti is getting ready to host the surfing competition of the Olympic Games in 2024. Teahupo’o is already a favorite destination for the very best surfers, who come to accept the challenge presented by the heaviest wave in the world, as it rolls over from heights of up to 25 feet. If you’re not a top-class surfer, but you’d still like to see the wave, then you can take a boat excursion from the village. After seeing ‘jaws’ up close, you can go along the coast to Fenua Aihere, the unspoiled countryside of the Tahiti Iti peninsula, where there is a superb hiking trail into the forest. During the mating season, from July to November, you can take a boat trip to observe the humpback whales that come to reproduce and nurture their young in the ocean around Tahiti. Apart from the pass itself, the waters around Teahupo’o are perfect for snorkeling – crystal clear, with a reef dropoff, where you find colonies of nudibranches, soft corals and all types of colorful tropical fish.
Olympic Games 2024 in The Islands of Tahiti
In preparation for the Olympics, much work has already begun on the infrastructure and secrity arrangements required for such a big international event. There are plans, as yet to be confirmed, for three different sites to be dedicated to staging of the Games: the gardens of Paofai, where various sporting events will be held; Taharu’u beach in Papara which will be the venue for a whole range of watersports activities; and the village of Teahupo’o, which will be reserved for athletes and Games officials and the media. There will also be giant TV screens in special ‘fan zones’, where the general public will be able to watch every minute of the competition. The Olympic flame will leave Teahupo’o on June 13th 2024, for a symbolic tour of the districts that are directly involved with the Games. 124 relay runners will carry the flame to To’ata in Papeete, where it will stay for the duration of the competition.
Hosting the surfing competition of the 2024 Olympic games presents a wonderful opportunity to promote The Islands of Tahiti as a sustainable tourism destination. Teahupo’o has already been the venue for the Pro Tahiti World Championship event for over two decades, but the market provided by the Olympic Games is on a completely different scale.
The Teahupo’o legend
Vehiatua was a very beautiful surfer, who lived on the island of Raiatea. During a visit to Tahiti, she heard that there was to be a great festival of horue, as surfing is called in Tahitian. The event was held at Teahupo’o, and Vehiatua performed so marvelously in the big waves, that the public cheered her name and applauded her enthusiastically. This greatly displeased the jealous ari’i, (the local chief), who chased Vehiatua away and took her name for himself.
Teahupo’o translates as ‘wall of skulls’. The village got its name following a great battle between two tribes, when the victors built a wall from the skulls of their enemies to mark the boundary of their territory. Sadly, the wave at Teahupo’o has lived up to its macabre name over the years, and many surfers have perished while attempting to master it. In Polynesian culture, the beauty and power of the wave are part of the Mana, the supernatural force that governs everything.