AP PHOTOS: In Teahupo'o, Tahiti, coastal village life thrives among powerful waves

In Teahupo'o, the ocean is the heart of village life. Boats bob in the lagoon in the south of Tahiti at sunrise before fishers start their day. Many set out early with poles or spears to catch fish gliding among the corals — fresh food for them, their families and their community. By the afternoon, a freshly caught fat tuna arrives onshore. The coast, too, is livelier now: kids surf and play in the turquoise ocean, families rest on the beach where the sea and river meet, and the sole snack bar is open for a fish lunch. But it's Teahupo'o's awesome wave that catches many people's attention. The impressively high walls of water — formed as the ocean rushes across a large and very shallow coral reef — crash into perfect cylinders for surfers to glide through. Surfers may arrive in Teahupo'o from around the world for its mighty waves, but unlike many other destinations globally that have become hotspots for surfers or other athletes looking for nature's perfect conditions, village...