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Angelenos Get Barreled With Kelly Slater in Tahiti, Without Flashing a Passport or Packing a Bikini

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When you're born and raised on a beautiful South Pacific island, visiting some other island isn't really a top priority. One crystal clear ocean is as sexy to me as the next, except when that island is Tahiti. I've had this inexplicable love affair with Tahiti for as long as I can recall, it's not so much the infamous waves at Teahupo'o or the beautiful coral reefs, rather the exceptionally sensual Tahitian people and their historical lore.

Brando and Gauguin knew exactly what they were doing when they ran off to this South Pacific paradise. Tahitians are hands down some of the most gorgeous specimens walking the Earth.
I actually think my paintings might rival some of Gauguin's if I set up my studio in Tahiti for a few months. Not only do Tahitians represent the classic mix of Polynesia, but also they have this incredibly sexy French accent and hearts as big as the side of the world.

Don't tell anyone, but dreams do come true. I had a one-night stand Monday night with Tahiti and I didn't need to pack a bag, put on high heels or even flash my passport. It was a round-trip, first -class ticket to an up close exploration of the magnetic, sensual beauty of the island; it's coral reefs, and people. Oh, I should also mention, I got barreled with two surf legends at Teahupo'o before the night ended. Okay, so maybe I didn't actually paddle out, but it sure felt like I did. I dropped into the world premiere of The Ultimate Wave Tahiti, the new 3D film for IMAX at The California Science Center. And, by the way, bigger is better. The visuals of this 3D experience are off the charts.

The film by Stephen Low features Quiksilver athletes Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer surfing one of the planets most challenging waves, Tahiti's Teahupo'o. The scene-stealer wasn't so much the iconic wave riders, but the isle of Tahiti itself. The film boasts breathtaking shots of the island's pristine environment, teaches a bit about it's deep connection to ancient cultures, and most importantly, taps into the ongoing effects of climate change.

During the IMAX journey, viewers learn about wave formation science and the genesis and growth pattern of waves such as Tahiti's legendary Teahupo'o that deliver the highest energy density of any renewable resource. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided scientific consultation for the film and will be offering a series of film-related community activities about the care and protection of the world's oceans.

The night kicked off with the screening of the film and was followed by a Tahitian-style after party, with a live performance by Mason Jennings, DJ Chris Holmes and some of Tahiti's talented homegrown performers.

The technology used to create this film makes science and weather so stimulating; it might not be a bad idea to show it in classrooms across America. With the moving graphics and colorful 3D charts gliding only inches in front of your face, you can't help but feel a deep understanding of the incredible power behind waves. There's no doubt this film could impact and educate how future generations will be inspired to protect the world's oceans.

All those who think surfing should officially be added to the required school curriculum, raise your hand. Educators, are you listening?

If you want to feel first-hand what it would be like to stand in the barrel of a Tahitian wave, and bypass airport security, drive Downtown and drop into the California Science Center's IMAX® Theater starting February 12, 2010. The Ultimate Wave Tahiti will be at IMAX theaters this month in Los Angeles.