Teahupoo

Teahupo’o

Teahupo’o is the name of a large reef break in Tahiti. Named after a village on the southwest coast of the island, the break is renowned for its consistent barrels, heavy waves and shallow shoreline. An extremely shallow coral reef, which ranges up to 20 inches beneath the water’s surface creates an unusual wave shape with an effect of almost breaking below sea level. The wave’s unique shape is due to the specific shape of the reef beneath the wave. Its semi circular nature, which drops down sharply creates a ‘below water’ effect and the extreme angles in descent create an instant instability to the wave.

TeahupooImage via Surfblogspot

According to Surfing Atlas:

The extreme angle creates instant instability in the wave. The second stage of the reef proceeds uniformly down to the 300 metres contour in about 50 metres of distance, or a ratio of about 1/6 (.1667). The maximum steepness a wave is able to endure before it breaks is .17. So when height (h) is > .17 of wavelength (λ) then the wave will break. The reef at Teahupoo moves the entire available energy mass of the wave all the way from 300m to the 10m mark of the first stage of the reef at the maximum angle permissible prior to a wave breaking. Then at 10m prior to reaching the surface it puts up a steep wall of reef that causes the entire mass to fold onto a scalloped semi-circle breaking arc.

The result is an incredible moving wall of water. The video below was taken August 27th 2011 during the Billabong Pro waiting period. The French Navy labeled this day a double code red prohibiting and threatening to arrest anyone that entered the water.

Surf Is Waaaaaaay Up

Garrett McNamara recently broke the world record for largest wave ever surfed. McNamara was towed into a 90-foot wall of watery death at Praia do Norte, Nazare, on the southern shores of Portugal. The previous record of 77 feet was set by Mike Parsons in 2008.

Gnarly!

And in case you were wondering, the biggest wave ever recorded by scientists measured 1,720 feet in height and killed two fishermen as it slammed down into Lituya Bay, a fjord located on the coast of Alaska on July 9 1958.

Shark Cam

It’s that getting close to that time of year when the Discovery Channel brings us Shark Week. As a promotional tie in to the weeks worth shark television, a live stream of the Ocean Voyager exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium, was created. I like it best full screen.

The 9.5 Olympic pool-sized (that’s 6.3 million gallons) tank was originally built to contain Whale Sharks and is currently hosting the Ocean Voyager exhibit. Aside from the aquarium’s seven shark species (including the whale variety), it also houses the only four captive manta rays in the United States.

Mapping Earth’s Gravitational Pull

The data from the GOCE satellite reveals a potato-shaped earth defined by varying gravity. The globe seen below is a highly exaggerated rendering that neatly illustrates how the tug we feel from the mass of rock under our feet is not the same in every location. In fact, it varies widely. In this model gravity is strongest in yellow areas; it is weakest in blue ones.

The BBC says,

Technically speaking, the model is what researchers refer to as a geoid. It is not the easiest of concepts to grasp, but essentially it describes the “level” surface on an idealised world.

It is the shape the oceans would adopt if there were no winds, no currents and no tides. The differences have been magnified nearly 10,000 times to show up as they do in the new model.

Even so, a boat off the coast of Europe (bright yellow) can sit 180m “higher” than a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean (deep blue) and still be on the same level plane. This is the trick gravity plays on Earth because the space rock on which we live is not a perfect sphere and its interior mass is not evenly distributed.

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Skiing The Big Waves Of Hawaii

Professional Waterman Chuck Patterson, skis down the face of Jaws. Peʻahi, also known as Jaws, is one of the largest surf breaks in Maui. Chuck takes it on like nobody else in history ever has. Be sure to watch this HD video in full screen.

Chuck Patterson wasn’t the first to ski on waves. Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend skied on waves in Hawaii a year before Chuck but the waves Mike and Cody experimented on weren’t nearly the size of those produced at Jaws. Needless to say, I would NOT like to be underwater with ski boots and poles on – waves or not.

Hawaii Day 3: Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn

I couldn’t put it better myself:

Spouting Horn is an alluring natural wonder on Kauai’s south shore. The Horn is actually a lava tube that used to flow into the sea. A hole in the top of the tube sends a spout of water rocketing into the air with each incoming wave as the water is forced into the lava tube by the incoming surf. Near by, another hole in the lava shelf blows only air, which creates an eerie moaning sound that accompanies the firing of Spouting Horn.

Hawaii Day 3: Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

Sea Cave

Snorkling

When people think of Kauai, they often automatically think of the Na Pali Coast. It’s the most dramatic coastline in Kauai, and in my opinion, all of Hawaii, and perhaps the United States. The coastline is so beautifully rugged and majestic that it is a popular location for hollywood – Six Days & Seven Nights with Harrison Ford, King Kong (Both the new and classic), Jurassic Park, and Raiders Of The Lost Ark among others have all been filmed here.

Since this area is only accesible by air, sea, or overnight backpacking trips (which I’d really like to do someday), we book booked a tour with Na Pali Explorers. Our guide was a genuine Hawaiian Spicoli that was surprisingly knowledgeable had just enough new-aginess to pull the vibe off with charm.

The boat ride was a blast. Our group was really small with only nine others. We traveled the length of the coastline seeing waterfalls, dolphins, beaches, and explored sea caves along the way. Most of it all was located within the Na Pali Coast State Park. We stopped at the Nu`alolo park and archaeological site (warning loud music) for an informative nature walk, some lunch, and a bunch of snorkeling.