Cyclonic left-breaking reef wave located near the southwest tip of Tahiti Iti; regarded since the late '90s as one of the world's most challenging and dangerous surf breaks. "Teahupoo isn't a wave, it's a war zone," surf journalist Gary Taylor wrote in 2000. "A freak of nature that some bastard decided to call a surf spot."

Waves at Teahupoo (pronounced "cho-pu," which translates more or less to "broken skulls") take shape about one-third of a mile offshore, and are biggest and best between ...