At the entrance to the village of Teahuppo, on the peninsula of Tahiti, the red and white terminal marked with “0” plainly announces the end of the road that gets lost in a great glitter of white flowers in the indigo blue of the Pacific Ocean. A few hundred meters away from the shore, beyond the lagoon, the barrier reef angrily traces a line of scum in the pale waters. Everything about Polynesia is calm, warm and peaceful. Everything but this infernal reef where the waves break with primitive beauty and insurmountable fury.
Within 10 years, the oceanic arena of Teahuppo was turned into a sacred sanctuary of surf. It serves as the theater for the largest modern exploits of this sport invented by the Polynesians. Fascinated by the aestheticism as well as by the untamed mutant wave. Tim McKenna photographed the beast from all angles until he captured the nature of its almost unreal beauty. Shot from the air or the sea, his photographs look like liquid sculpture and oceanic transparencies…that makes us enter into the heart of the barrels, cathedrals of light and salty water or fly above the transhumance of these ephemeral miracles of nature that are the waves in the South Pacific.
For the few who have chosen to confront the perfection of the elements (water and coral) incarnated by Teahuppo, sometimes to the peril of their lives, the photography represents more than a simple testimony of their triumphant courage. The fusional encounter between a man and a wave is frozen in the collective memory due to the continuation of an oral tradition dating from several millenniums. This is the way that myths and legends are built in Tahiti. They will transcend the ages.