The Day Kelia Moniz took on Teahupoo

You’ve probably already seen the photo, 2x World Longboarding Champ, Kelia Moniz, dropping into a 15ft Teahupoo bomb on a 9’4 single fin longboard.

Then you probably saw the wipeout clip on STAB, or maybe saw the comments filtering through on social media. Fans, strangers and the wider surf community paying respect for something that no man or woman has possibly ever attempted.

Sitting in the channel witnessing the whole thing go down were, fellow team riders, Monyca and Steph, plus legendary Quiksilver waterman Jamie Mitchell and renowned photographer, Tim McKenna - here are their stories from that day….


Tim McKenna, Photographer (has most likely shot every major wave ridden at Teahupoo)

Kelia had already ridden some crazy waves during that session at Teahupoo. The swell was building and the conditions were perfect. We all thought that she would call it a day after a few waves but she went back out to the line up with Raimana for one last wave. She seemed more pumped than ever.

Longboards and Teahupoo don’t really mix that well and it was a miracle her board was still in one piece. As the big set rolled in she made part of the steep drop but the water was really sucking up the face of the wave, making it hard for her log to gain enough speed.

She was so committed with all her weight forward, that’s when her feet slipped of the deck, her body landed straight back on the board and she started to slide down the face.

We all held our breath for a few seconds as she wiped out in a pretty bad section of the wave. Kelia popped back up with a big smile on her face as people were cheering on from the boats. She is a true Hawaiian charger and the reef cut on her leg, just another battle wound, a Teahupoo reef tattoo full of memories.


We hadn't seen too many huge sets roll through. We knew the swell was building so we went out just to witness the wave. Both Jamie and I were injured so we were only spectating from the boat. It's always a little nerve wrecking with Raimana there as you know at any moment he'll tell you to jump on the ski 'it's your turn'. Sis is always pretty chill but her usual giggle turned a little more nervous when she got the call up. We knew Raimana would choose the biggest wave so I was a little nervous for her. You can tell it's a big wave when you see the other surfers in the lineup start scrambling to get into position, or into safety. Next minute we see the wave approach, Raimana says to sis 'this is it let’s go'. At that point she had no choice. He put her into a good spot, she had a good entry into the wave. As the wave started to completely bottom out, Sister still looking ever so stylish, started to slip and our hearts started to drop.... And then she belly slid over the falls. As intense of a wipe out as it was, I knew sis was laughing the whole time, and that's the beauty of what was 'the' moment.


Sisters Teahupoo experience was so radical. We knew there was some good swell coming, and she kept telling me that she really wanted to get "a wave" out there. I wasn't thinking about it that much because I was feeling guilty about not having the same drive for such a crazy wave. As the day approached I could tell that she was serious because she was pretty focused, and a little nervous the night before. When we got out there the next day it seemed pretty manageable at first, and she got a few waves that I was definitely excited about, but they didn't really scare me TOO much. Side note, I was on the boat watching from the channel, so it was big to me! Then the biggest set of the day approached. I was just thinking, "no way they are going for this thing." Sure enough Raimana powers up the motor on the ski and sis jumps! Gliding across the face of this wave with pure focus and grace. It was gorgeous and terrifying at the same time. When she fell she body slammed straight onto her board, then bounced onto the face and over the falls. It was such a big wave, and such a gnarly wipe out that I swear my heart stopped. When she finally popped up there was another huge wave ready to break on her head, but in the nick of time Raimana swooped in and pulled her to the sled within a millisecond of getting obliterated by the wave behind. As they drove into the channel I immediately burst into tears of relief. My best friend was safe, and she was sooo stoked. I still cant get over it. I’m so proud of her.

My nurse @monycaeleogram making shitty things look gud. ALWAYS #Limed

A photo posted by Kelia Moniz (@keliamoniz) on

Jamie Mitchell - 10x Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard race World Champ, big wave surfer

I was in Tahiti for a Quiksilver photo shoot and we were all hanging out with the ROXY girls that day. When we all wrapped shooting, Raimana organised a boat for Steph, Monyca, myself, Raimana and crew to head out to Teahupoo. When we arrived we saw a few 6-8 ft sets and it was perfect, super clean and just beautiful. Steph and I were both carrying injuries and Monyca was happy watching from the boat, so we all were just cruising having a good time.

Raimana paddled out on his SUP and got a few waves and at that stage there was a few pulses in the swell and a few 10 ft bombs started rolling through.

We started saying to Sister ‘hey wouldn’t it be crazy if you could go get one on your longboard’ and sort of laughed about it. Then I remember thinking there’s no better time than now. So we all just got her pumped up and she just decided ‘hey what the hell’ and jumped off the boat…

Her first wave she went for was solid and about 8 ft and she gave it a good try but was too far up the nose and her fin didn’t hold the line and she ended up skipping out and having a pretty bad wipeout. At that stage we thought she would be done, but instead she did the fly by with Raimana and a huge grin on her face, you could tell she had all this adrenaline rushing through and went straight back into the lineup.

I had a feeling she was going to go big, and I was right. The next one she went was a solid 8-10 ft and she did really well to ride it as far as she did. Kelia made the drop, set her line then the single fin just couldnt hold and she had a horrendous wipeout. She fell then proceeded to body surf down the face over her board then get sucked up over and just pounded so hard. From the boat, Monyca was screaming and freaking out thinking she just saw her friend die and the rest of us were just screaming, waiting for her to resurface.

Once she came back to the boat the energy was just really cool. Sister was pumped, we were all high fiving, Monyca was still crying and we were all happy to see her in one piece with only a few scratches. The girls cracked a few beers and hugged it out and that was it, the end to a epic day. Big props to Kelia for charging that day, it was awesome to see.


We are constantly in awe of this humble Hawaiian. Sister charged, took a few tumbles, caught some reef and came out with her trademark smile as wide as ever. Unknowingly inspiring countless followers in the process.

If you’re not already, follow Sister on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for your daily dose of her kick-ass Aloha spirit.

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