The latest stop for the men on tour was the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Teahupo’o is an iconic surf spot notorious for its heavy, glassy waves that mainly break left. More than once it has been coined “the heaviest wave ever ridden.” Everyone pronounces it differently. The meaning behind the surf break seems altogether more significant. Loosely translated Teahupo’o means “place of skulls.” Yikes. With a name like that, nobody questions that one should be an experienced surfer before attempting to ride Teahupo’o. Greats like Ian Walsh and Laird Hamilton have fastened this surf spot to their dossier. Ace Buchan added his name in bold text to that repertoire when he recently won the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Keala Kennelly even had a mini-makeover at this heavy wave.
Yet, none of these surfers have quite the haunting relationship with Teahupo’o that Nathan Fletcher possesses. In fact, when asked what it like was to repeat his Teahupo’o story for the #LIVEARNETTE series, Nathan responded pensively: “It felt like I was telling a story. But, it was hard to give all the details because these stories were traumatic times in my life, especially when talking about Andy and Sion.” He tells a redemptive story. Despite the tragic loss of fellow surfing companions, Nathan proved to be an overcomer. He surfed big wave, Teahupo’o, earning him a Billabong XXL award. Nathan hails from surf royalty (just check out the roman numerals XXL). This wave also established him within that lineage, and perhaps made way for a future Fletcher? He is getting ready to have a son in December. Who says William and Kate have the monopoly on male heirs to a throne? Nathan exults: “I'm really looking forward to that [being a father and taking him surfing] and spending time with him in the house I just bought in Hawaii.” Nathan’s big excitement for fatherhood seems to be compatible with his passion for big waves. Like any noble surfing royal, Nathan does not esteem himself as having the monopoly on big waves, either. Rather, he says fairly matter-of-fact: “I’m just always looking for waves to surf. If they happen to be big, that is a bonus.”
Nonchalant Nathan has some big news… from surfing a big, gnarly wave to becoming a big daddy! Fletcher describes it best himself in this #LIVEARNETTE episode. It reads just like a fairy tale: “The only way you can make magic is by accident. Magic never happens when you force it.”
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Special acknowledgement to: Brent at Arnette (off-camera interview)
Congrats to Nathan Fletcher and his family!