Origins of a South Pacific Prince

From Innersection onward, 21-year-old Mateia Hiquily is commanding the lineup

In 2012, we profiled a relatively unknown 16-year-old Tahitian talent named Mateia Hiquily for our Hot 100 countdown. He picked up surfing when he was 9 after finding a broken board on the sand. At 14, he charged Teahupoo, his home break, for the first time, describing how he almost felt a customary obligation to pitch himself over the lip, in order to not waste the wave. Then, the eyes of the larger surf world widened when Hiquily became the youngest entrant in Taylor Steele’s Innersection, mixing foam ball rides with brave maneuvers above the lip. And now? Hiquily’s 21 and a Chopes channel general, hooting younger versions of himself into the defining rides of their lives. After he gets his choice waves.