Nathan Fletcher courtesy of SMELIVE.com
Behind The Cover With Nathan Fletcher
Riding a tow board with loose straps and surfing with an awkward stance, Nathan Fletcher got whipped into what many are calling “the biggest barrel ever” at Teahupo‘o. We hate to use the phrase “biggest ever” but in this case there’s no denying it. Even Mark Healey (who refers to triple overhead waves as ‘four footers’) called it the “biggest f—kin’ barrel ever.” Coming from a guy like that means something and makes us feel more confident in our claim.
What was most remarkable about Nathan’s ride wasn’t so much the sheer girth and thickness of the wave, but how he rode it out ‘til the bitter end. “When I pulled in, the exit looked really far away. It was like, uphill to get to the channel, like riding in a ditch. Then I was caught on the foam ball going, ‘Nooo!’ It was insane, I couldn’t believe it when I came up.” What Nathan left out was that he somehow did an air over the first foamball, landed it, then got caught by it again, ultimately taking him out. The thing looked like the devil’s hand trying to reach out and grab him.
It was the heaviest thing I’ve ever seen in person and to this day don’t understand how nobody got severely injured—or worse—on the biggest, meanest day ever at Tahiti’s feared and famed break. The photographer, our very own Brian Bielmann was, in in the very last boat which was piloted by one of the first guys to surf Teahupo‘o, Timote. Without those two we wouldn’t have this frozen moment—they put their asses on the line this day.
During his quick trip, Fletcher caught two waves, “One for Sion, and one for Andy” he would later say. It’s our belief (and Nathan’s) that someone—most likely the two guys Nathan mentioned—was upstairs looking over the him and the rest of the daredevils who took on Chopes on the ultimate day.—Justin Coté
Features In the December Issue Of TransWorld SURF
76 Code Red
In the middle of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the craziest swell that has hit the South Pacific in decades turned the perfect tubes of Teauhpo‘o into mutated beasts hungry for blood. Some of the world’s gnarliest surfers stepped up, and needless to say, heavy surfing went down.
The world’s best surf photography displayed in all of its wondrous glory.
66 Right Coast, Wright Way
The Quiksilver Pro New York goes off and Owen Wright reaps the sweet rewards of the biggest prize purse in surfing history!
14 Editor’s Note: Don’t blink, you’ll miss something.
20 Behind The Cover: Nathan Fletcher’s wave of his life.
26 Letters: Chris is getting emo.
38 True Stories: Party boy gets smashed.
45 Currents: Rants, raves, and waves.
52 Mess And Noise: Killer hang ten cover!
56 Ask The Expert: Why does Dane draw?
60 How To: Marzo shows you how to lay back.
62 Surf Science: What’s up underwater.
64 Quivers: Ando’s style stash.
104 Check Out: Kanoa Igarashi is a contest killer.
108 Departure: Say good-bye.
112: Last Words: New York hero, Balaram Stack.