Every time I come across this video, I have to watch it a few times over. The scene – Just days before the 2005 Billabong Pro Tahiti, with some of the best surfers in the world and top locals braving big, heaving Teahupoo barrels. The surfer – Raimana Van Bastoloer, local Tahitian charger. The jet ski driver – Hawaiian, Reef MacIntosh. What happened? – While towing Raimana into a thick barrel, Reef got caught by the lip of the very wave he towed his charge in to. With no hope at salvaging the ski, Reef bailed on the watercraft to preserve his own life, while unknowingly putting his tow-mate in a death defying situation. While weaving through the barrel, Raimana noticeably reacts to the jet ski flying over his head, by tucking in and ducking his head. The outcome – What could have easily gone from horrible situation to even worse was salvaged by Raimana’s barrel riding skill. The ski was not so lucky.
The sheer terror of the wave alone is enough to make most strong men poop a little. Throw in several hundred pounds of personal watercraft and this is a case study in why to avoid jet skis in the lineup. Every time I watch this clip, I find myself physically ducking in my chair to avoid the same fate that Raimana so masterfully avoided. The guy even managed to shoot under the jetski, continue to get barreled for another 50 yards, kick out and claim it. Amazing.