Mammoth Wave Almost Flips Boat, Sends Passengers And Baguettes Flying

A gif showing a boat being rocked by a big wave.
A gif showing a boat being rocked by a big wave.

It was a close call for this water taxi off the coast of Tahiti.

Places like Hawaii, Tahiti and Australia have a reputation for massive waves that brings professional surfers from around the world to their shores in search of the perfect break. With professional surfers comes tourists looking to watch them hang ten and shred, but boats full of tourists and massive waves can be a dangerous combo as one taxi boat recently found.

While surfers were riding waves in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, a taxi boat filled with onlookers was quietly minding its own business. Usually, boats full of surfing fans stick to a channel of calmer water that acts as “pseudo spectator’s gallery” alongside the breaks the pros are riding, according to Surfer. However, one taxi boat got a bit too close to the action and was caught up in one of the bay’s massive waves.


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“This was a massive wave at Teahupo’o. And the boat was a little too far inside. It made the captain panic, but at the same time, I felt like he was very controlled in his environment.

“The craziest part is that Teahupo’o is like a natural amphitheater. There’s like 10 or 15 boats just sitting in the pocket. It’s such a crazy looking wave. To me, it looks like a rogue wave.

“These waves are barely rideable and humans decide to ride them. They’re absolutely crazy. And in this instance, the boat almost caught the wave.”

O’Brien explains that the ocean floor quickly rises off the coast of Tahiti. The sea bed rises from around 1,000 feet deep to closer to 20 feet rapidly, which forces huge volumes of water up and into the iconic waves that surfers crave.

As the huge quantity of water came barreling towards the ship, the best thing it could do was take the “gnarliest wave” nose on. Thankfully, the two people thrown from the boat as it rode the wave were fine, with Beach Grit identifying them as surf photographer Ted Grambeau and adventure filmmaker Chris Bryan. There’s no word on what was in the baguette, however.

Interestingly, the setting for this near-miss will actually be the location at which surfing makes its debut in the Paris Olympics in 2024. Hopefully the camera crews and support teams on hand will have seen this so they know what not to do while observing surfing at its finest.

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