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Mihimana Braye is not unlike many WQS regulars in that his profession requires spending a lot – and we mean a lot – of time and energy traveling the world. And just like all the other QS competitors this year, 2020 has featured an indefinite and probably jarring shift to surfing nothing but home-cooked waves.

Of course, for Braye that doesn’t sound so terrible because the place he calls home is Tahiti. And while lineups are usually  flooded anytime the South Pacific churns something up this time of year, 2020 has brought the locals a much-deserved mellow season. Tahiti’s borders aren’t closed to travelers but there still hasn’t been the typical infusion of pros and visiting surfers infiltrating places like Teahupo’o whenever it turns on. We’ve seen many instances where the people who call this place home step right up and own one of the world’s craziest waves without hesitation, now free to charge without interruption. These are all relatively positive points for a Tahitian local who desires some downtime, which Mihi kind of wanted, ironically.

“My vision after COVID hit was to score some big barrels at home and show that I’m not all about turns and airs,” he told The Inertia. “I’m always overseas traveling around the world for the WQS and missing every swell at Teahupo’o. Thanks to COVID I was able to spend more time at home and scored some epic Teahupo’o and Temae swells on the sister island.”

Everything has a silver lining if you look in the right places.

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