No lies, no exaggeration—the above is a very valid question. We won’t focus on the fact that Kealii Mamala enjoys top-tier pecking order in the strictly regulated hierarchy at the infamously heavy, notoriously crowded lineup at Teahupoo among a dominant population of prone surfers. Or the fact that this entire edit goes down in one session. Or the fact that his uncanny backside skills find him practically lying down in most of these barrels.
While all those feats are impressive in themselves, we’re fixated on the final clip—the masterfully threaded gaper Mamala strokes into at the 2:20 mark. There, Mamala finds himself mounting the foam ball (that turbulently churning, hectic ball of whitewater lodged way back inside the tube’s throat) so deep in the barrel that he disappears from view, only to be puffed out well after the wave spits. If we were judging, we’d call that a 10. But we’re not judging, just admiring and living vicariously. Good on ya, Mr. Mamala. And, good on SUP.