Freaky Friday The 13th.
By now you’ve seen the insanity of the swell that bombarded Teahupoo in mid August. We caught up with Tahitian charger and filmer Manea Fabisch who was both behind the lense and in the pit during the swell.
Quick introduction, who is Manea Fabisch and how did you become a bodyboarder?
I started bodyboarding pretty late at the age of 16 because at around 13 years of age I had problems with my knee caps dislocating themselves, so I couldn’t practice much sports during those years.
Once I started bodyboarding I got hooked instantly and every time I wasn’t at school you’d find me in the water at my home spot Sapinus…
Can you try to put into words what it was like being in the line-up during that amazing swell that just hit Teuhopoo?
I actually wasn’t at the peak on the biggest day, Friday 13th. I filmed all day in the water and on the boat , the next day was when I caught some waves early in the morning thanks to Kauli towing me in.
But yeah being out there when it’s this big is really something else, you feel humbled and the Mana is really present.
What was the craziest thing you saw that day?
The craziest thing I saw on Friday was actually the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life; Kauli getting towed into the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. There’s a channel in Teahupo’o where waves cannot break normally, but this wave was so big that it broke into the channel and all the boats just ran for their lives.
At that moment I was shooting from the water, I saw all the other guys in the water swim really fast but when I saw it was Kauli I knew I had to keep on filming no matter what. I was looking through my camera and saw him go with the lip so I stopped filming and looked to my side and realised the whole channel was closing out. I swam as hard as I could but the wave sucked me over, I got my camera ripped out of my hands at that moment I thought It was over me. I would lose my camera and get fucked on the reef , but luckily it didn’t send me to the bottom and my leash held on!
I popped out after 15 seconds or so not too far from Kauli.
Luckily there wasn’t another big set behind , but there was a huge rip so I was swimming really hard to get back to safety.
Are we right in hearing that because of Tahiti being in lockdown it was only local riders in the line up?
We weren’t in lockdown actually a few guys from overseas came down for the swell , when they saw the previous swell we had but yeah it was mainly locals charging !
You were behind the camera for most of the day, why was that?
I work as a water photo/videographer and I was already booked for those dates to be filming no matter what the swell would be, so that day I had to film no matter what. It’s amazing to be able to work with something your passionate about, but that day I kinda wish I could of had ridden at least one gigantic one! Next time I’ll make sure I’m free when this type of swell hits !
Did you score any waves yourself?
Yes, luckily the next morning after the peak of the swell, Kauli Vaast towed me into two gems. It was my first experience towing in and damn felt so good going full speed through those cylinders !
What is the bodyboarding scene like in Tahiti currently?
The bodyboarding scene in Tahiti right now is not as strong as what it use to be when I started bodyboarding , but yes there is still a strong core of riders but during big swells there isn’t as many bodyboarders as there use to be like in 2014-2015. There’s many young guys coming up and I can’t wait to see what they will bring to the game.
There seems to be lots of cross over with the surfing / bodyboarding communities on the island, is this the case?
Yes, we’re just a big family down here there’s no segregation between what craft you ride , we’re all here for the same reason enjoying the amazing gift that waves are.
Growing up in Tahiti, do you feel the pressure to have to charge crazy waves as your surfing develops?
I never really felt any pressure to ride big waves it came naturally, I was lucky to grow up next to Sapinus and this wave made me the rider who I am today. For me it’s the best wave on this island it’s fun to ride from 1 foot to 20 foot + , the wave is never the same and she makes you learn so much.