Big-wave surfer Keala Kennelly is no stranger to pushing surfing boundaries, and she may have just upped the ante again, by catching what some are calling the heaviest wave ever ridden by any woman while surfing at Teahupoo:
Ok I thought everyone already saw this on @shanedorians IG but people keep asking me to post the video so here it is. Shot by @raimanaworld (I also borrowed his ski and driver) Raimana is the man. Love you brother! @billabong @billabongwomens @Aftermathboards @dakine_surf @NouvelleVagueLA #Tahiti #Teahupoo
After watching swell forecasts for the past month, Kennelly, who spent a decade on women’s tour ranked as a top 10 surfer in the world before retiring in 2007, arrived in Tahiti this past Thursday ready for action.
Immediately after being towed in, Kennelly knew she was in for a big ride.
“I passed on a much smaller wave that had some chop on the face, and when I saw that one standing up I knew it was going to be a bomb so I was like ‘okay, this is it…” Kennelly told Surfer Today.
Unfortunately for Kennelly, who in 2005 became the first woman to ever tow into Teahupoo, the wave quickly collapsed on her, pinning her to Teahupoo’s notoriously shallow reef.
“I got exploded on with so much force my helmet blew off. I got smashed down onto the reef pinned on my back and held there for a while,” said the Hawaiian native. “Then, I came up and got a breath just in time to get the wave behind it on the head. That one slammed me on the reef with a lot of force — the whole left side of my body hit really hard. It felt like I broke my elbow and my hand. At first I couldn’t move my hand but after awhile I started to be able to wiggle my fingers, so that was a good sign.”
Eventually she was picked up by her friend, pro surf photographer Brent Bielmann, who told her she had just ridden one of the biggest waves he had ever seen.
“When I got back to the boat my friend Brent was freaking out and claiming [it was the] biggest, heaviest wave by a chick ever,” said Kennelly. “I thought he was just messing with me and then he showed me the photo and then I didn’t feel so bad for not making it out of the barrel.”
The stuff guys are doing these days is seriously nuts…into the oblivion not knowing what happens when you wipeout. But the craziest guy of all is a girl… @kealakennelly. Looks like someone challenged her to a #YouWontGo contest and she called their bluff! #WTF, KK? #Teahupoo today. #MakingMenLookLikeBoys haha. #Repost @brentbielmann with @repostapp. ・・・ With all that happened, today was definitely one of the craziest days I've ever witnessed. To top it off my good friend @kealakennelly rode (in my opinion) one of the heaviest waves Ive ever seen here. Stoked I was here to capture that moment. #beastmode #xxl #shebetterwin #breaktheinternet @surfingmagazine #photobrent
“The stuff guys are doing these days is seriously nuts…into the oblivion not knowing what happens when you wipeout,” Slater wrote in a post attached to a picture of Kennelly catching the wave. “But the craziest guy of all is a girl … @kealakennelly. Looks like someone challenged her to a #YouWontGo contest and she called their bluff!”
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