In the world of big-wave surfing, there are two types of people: psychotic hell men, who fear no wave on Earth, and the Florences, who transcend all human-like qualities and have entered into a realm of their own, which can only be described as something godlike. While seeing this ride is utterly mind-boggling, it doesn’t entirely come as a surprise. After all, he is a Florence.
The video was shot during a giant swell that slammed Teahupo’o last May, but Surfline waited until just now to release the it. Along with the footage, Surfline poses the question: Is this the best wave ever paddled at Teahupo’o? Well, Kelly Slater and Sebastian Zeitz agree that it’s indeed the best wave ever paddled at Teahupo’o. I tend to agree with them, too.
“Hands-down, the best wave paddled ever at Teahupo’o in my book,” Kelly Slater told Surfline. “That just sent a warning shot over the surfing world’s bow! Crazy ride. Can’t believe he made it.”
“That’s definitely the heaviest drop ever in Teahupo’o history,” said Sebastian Zeitz. “Looks like a stationary wave — super west and mutated. Gotta be the best Teahupo’o wave ever ridden, probably. When that kind of wave comes in…I don’t think I’ve ever even thought of paddling for a wave like that. But it looks like right before he takes off, there’s no way, but he’s fully committed and makes it. Hey, it’s in his blood — he’s a Florence.”
Of course, postulating this is the best wave ever paddled at Teahupo’o is a subjective endeavor. In fact, one could argue that the late, great Andy Irons had a similar wave back in 2002. Andy didn’t quite get as deep as Nathan, but he had one hell of a drop. How was that side slip?!
Aaaand cue the debate…