Sometimes you meet someone, and it stirs something deep in your soul. A few weeks ago, we left for French Polynesia to shoot our new film HONO. More than a year and a half of preparation went into this trip, which will remain, without a doubt, one of the most difficult to organise. Covid hassles and last-minute cancellations because of lockdowns... we had to change our plans so many times. Some people think that everything happens for a reason and maybe that was true in our case. The stars eventually aligned, and what were once hardships became great stories. As well as reconnecting with Tim McKenna, a real legend of photography who was instrumental in writing the history of the OXBOW brand in the 1990s and 2000s, we met two amazing Tahitian surfers.


After having to find new accommodation at the last minute, we lay our boards on the peninsula in the village of Teahupo’o, at the home of Tahurai Henry. A big kid of 31, and a new dad, Tahurai and his wife, Hinatea, have created a lodge in the midst of the greenery and the village which hosts the greatest surfers on the planet when the wave in front of his place awakens. John John, Nathan Florence, Koa Rothman... they all lay their fins here. Only natural once you see the location and get to know our host. A pro bodyboarder in his teens, Tahurai is today one of the spot’s most honoured surfers. He will also be the official representative for Polynesia at Paris 2024. His ancestors arrived in Teahupo’o by sea, in sailing canoes from Aitutaki (Cook Islands). Funny, endearing, passionate about his island and his village, Tahurai is committed to passing on the richness of his culture and sharing some sessions on his wave.


When we talk to him about sponsorship, he prefers to suggest another surfer to support. Like him, a “child of Teahupo’o”, aged only 16, humble and understated, who surfs like no one else his age. The OXBOW team is in situ, word gets around, and soon the village only wants to talk about him, the next star of Polynesia: Gilbert Teave. Not yet a dad at the time, we already sense Tahurai’s desire to share and impart; he seems to consider Gilbert his spiritual little brother. He acts as his tow-in partner when the waves are huge, makes sure he’s safe in the water, hooks him up with sponsor boards and fins... When we discuss it with Tim McKenna, it reminds him, not without emotion, of Manoa Drollet and Malik Joyeux, two incredible surfers sponsored by OXBOW 20 years ago.


OXBOW, a French brand that has been around for more than 35 years, has always had special moments in Polynesia. Laird Hamilton’s millennium wave at Teahupo’o, Tim McKenna, Hira Teriinatoofa, Manoa Drollet, Malik Joyeux, Baptiste Gossein, Patricia Rossi, Prisca Amaru and many others have all written a piece of the brand’s history in Tahiti and its islands. A land of watermen and waterwomen that has given us so much, something that we have tried to support in our own way over the years.


Today, we are once again proud to sponsor two Tahitians, who we’re convinced will inspire a new generation of surfers, just as their predecessors did before them. Maeva to the OXBOW team, Tahurai & Gilbert!


Images : Tim McKenna 


Leave a Reply Cancel reply