The Teahupoo Wave in Danger
Matahi Drollet, the prominent Tahitian surfer, has renewed his efforts to draw attention to the 2024 Olympic Games organization. His protest, supported by the local community, denounces the construction of an expensive aluminum tower for judges and administration in Teahupoo, the famous wave that will be the epicenter of the surfing competitions during the Paris 2024 Olympics. According to Drollet, this structure poses significant risks to the marine ecosystem.
Teahupoo as the Venue for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
Many residents of Teahupo’o have raised their voices in a strong protest against the construction of this new structure in the lagoon in front of the iconic Teahupoo wave. They argue that the risks associated with this new infrastructure are disproportionate for just three days of competition. Teahupoo, located over 15,700 kilometers from Paris, was selected as the venue for the surfing events in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The small town, with only 1,500 inhabitants, is preparing for significant changes in the coming year to host an event of such magnitude. Among the concerns of residents is the ability of the South Pacific island to manage the influx of people, as competitors are planned to be accommodated on a cruise ship anchored off the coast.
Controversy over the Judges’ Tower for the Olympic Games
But the major concern lies in the construction of a new tower for judges, valued at around 4.5 million euros. This structure, considerably larger than its predecessor, has the capacity to accommodate four times more people and will be built with aluminum instead of wood. This decision has generated discontent among residents, who fear the unknown impact this modification may have on the fragile reef. Resistance to this tower intensifies with accusations of forgery in the environmental study supporting its construction, as denounced by local surfer Matahi Drollet.
The controversy has reached higher levels with the surfer’s invitation to Tahiti’s president, Moetai Brotherson, to dive and personally explore the area, highlighting the importance of the reef and marine ecosystem for the local community.
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In his latest Instagram post, Drollet has issued an unconventional invitation, seeking the support of Tahiti’s president, Moetai Brotherson: “I want to invite our president @moetaibrotherson to come and visit this place with us, the local residents. Let’s take our goggles and snorkels and dive to show how shallow this whole area is and how lucky we are to have such a healthy reef and marine ecosystem.”.
In a video attached to the invitation, Drollet accuses the organization of forging an environmental study to support the construction of the judges’ tower, valued at 4.6 million euros. “They forged the environmental assessment to build their 4.6 million euro air-conditioned and flush toilet tower for judges,” asserts Drollet.
“They claim to care about the environment on their website. The WSL has used a minimal impact tower for over 20 years, which has worked perfectly. But the Olympics want an air-conditioned tower with flush toilets for 3 days of competition. This is the barge they will use to drill the reef this week. It will be necessary to clear a large area of the reef to create a path for the barge to reach the drilling area. We placed a ‘Unu’ where they want to build the tower. ‘Unu’ is used to declare a place sacred and in need of protection.”
To date, the organization of the 2024 Olympic Games has not responded to the allegations of forgery. The president has also not indicated whether he will accept the invitation to personally inspect the surf break.
An online petition against the construction of the tower has already surpassed 90,000 signatures. You can join the cause on the Change.org website.