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TheKiteMag 50 Tahiti Take TwoVictor Hays by Andre Magarao 6 copy 1200x800 - Tahiti Take Two

Tahiti Take Two

Victor Hays visited French Polynesia last year – which you can read about in issue 45 – but unfortunately that visit was cut short by Covid. So a return visit was definitely in order, and once again the paradise of Tahiti and its surrounding islands didn’t disappoint. We get the feeling Victor will be back for more next year, and who can blame him…

PHOTOS: Andre Magarao

French Polynesia has been a dream location for me ever since I started my kiting career. Last year, with endless support from Airush, we finally made it happen. 30 hours traveling and I finally landed in the dreamiest location any water sports addict could dream of. After a blissful week of spending four or five hours a day in the water, riding boards of every discipline, reality came crashing back… I’d left Europe during a massive Covid wave that hadn’t really affected Polynesia yet. Unluckily for us, the Polynesian government took the strong decision to close the borders and also beach access for sports practice. It was such a massive disappointment for me, and despite the conditions firing in front of us, we took the hard decision to fly back to Europe and cut the trip short. That said, I’d already been thinking of returning a year later for a longer trip. My riding partner Paul Serin was definitely in for that mission, so after a few weeks of organization we were back where the story ended last year, and this time without any Covid restrictions. The cherry on the cake – one of our favorite photographers, Andre Magarao, was in LA at the time, and again with solid help from Airush and AK, we flew him to Tahiti to shoot in clearly the most impressive location I’ve ever been.

For the first week we mostly spent our time on Tahiti mainland shooting some freeride and wingfoiling. The conditions were nice with plenty of wind and once again we were lucky enough to have a jet ski and boat to reach the best spots. Andre couldn’t believe how beautiful Tahiti is and every single minute was shooting prime time. Each day we ended up doing some pump foiling and tow-ins in front of our house and shooting some of the most amazing sunsets. An action-packed week one was done, it was time to move on to some more adventure.

Week two was slightly harder in terms of conditions. Like a lot of islands, Tahiti gets a fair amount of rain during the year which we couldn’t escape. Despite no wind, we got good waves, so could still maximize our water time, and Andre got some time practicing his water shots at one of the most prestigious waves on the island, Taapuna. Local ripper and absolute legend Raiarii Fadier took us to Papara, a famous channel that provides really amazing waves for downwind foiling and carving. The background was luxurious with an insane green mountain dropping right into the sea. Our trip coincided with the WSL competition at Teahupo’o, so we spent one day watching the most prestigious surf event less than 20 meters from the wave closeout. What an experience!

After all those dreamy side activities, it was time to get back to kiting and we took the decision to move to sister island Moorea. The forecast was challenging but the opportunity to shoot some kiting there was stronger than Windguru! Accommodation booked, ferry booked, 100 kilograms of Andre’s photography gear packed, and it was time for three days of action. Our sessions were punctuated with palm trees, sharks, and rays. Tahiti has, in my opinion, the best landscape to shoot I’ve ever seen, but that comes with the price of having lots of rain. But in between heavy showers, you are rewarded. The wind on Moorea on the other hand shifts a lot, which meant we had to swap spots often and Andre had to be ready for anything at any moment. The weather gods gave us one crazy opportunity at a spot where the water is the clearest I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve kited in turquoise waters in such places as Bora Bora and Turks and Caicos, but this spot Teme is absolutely unreal. Andre spotted a great reef mushroom and we set our sights on scoring some shots there. The current was really strong so it was hard to stay upwind, but it was totally worth it.

After one month in paradise, spending about four hours a day on the water, it was time to get back to earth and fly home. I didn’t have time to visit and explore all the thousands of islands around that provide endless spots to ride, usually alone. Spots are uncrowded as it’s hard to get there and find the right conditions, which helps make those islands so prestigious. French Polynesia is different to any other place I’ve been. There are not many words that can describe it. Hopefully I’ll be back next year. And I wish for every water sport addict out there to have the opportunity to visit too…

“The background was luxurious with an insane green mountain dropping right into the sea.”

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