This story was originally published in print, in the Spring 2014 issue of The Outdoor Journal, you can subscribe here.
It’s one thing to have a mountain, wave, or trail right in your back yard. But it’s another entirely to grow up at a world-class sporting venue. Picture a preschool T Rice learning to link turns at Jackson Hole, or a Sam Hill riding the hills of Western Australia with training wheels, or even 21-year old surf phenom, John John Florence getting pushed into waves at Pipe, the measuring stick by which all other surf spots are graded, which happens to be steps from his backyard. Now imagine growing up on Tahiti, a spec of land in the middle of the ocean, formed by a series of geologically violent volcanic eruptions, and comprising of craggy cliffs lurching out of the blue South Pacific.