Forget the subconscious fears that usually hang around surfing; sharks, deadly waves and some seriously sharp reefs, this ride is dark! These waters are creepy and Alison Teal paddled it with the company of the remains of six million dead people..of course it had to be done in a pink bikini.
The Catacombs lay beneath Paris and are a network of former mines and ossuaries below the city where the bones of six million humans lie. That’s right, this is the worlds largest gravesite and Teal picked this surf spot.
Why? Well the reasoning behind it is that Teal was down in Paris for the environmental world forum where she spoke about the importance of cleaning up our oceans and freshwater sources. The paddle through the Catacombs, along with paddles in the Seine River in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, at the Louvre Museum and other places, were intended to highlight exactly that.
It seems that the surfing community are making big waves about this issue and are true pioneers of the ocean but also becoming role models to more than just surfers. We saw a collaborative film made earlier this year by Mikey DeTemple and Surfrider which had the same message about keeping our waters clean.
Teal released a YouTube post of the catacombs video, she wrote that she was “in the city to make a environmental statement that if we do not protect our oceans we will end up surfing in fountains, dirty rivers, or in the depths of places like the Catacombs.”
She continues, “human beings depend upon fresh water for survival AND the sea creatures depend upon a healthy ocean for survival — not to mention if the oceans die, we die.”
Despite Teal planning the exploration into the city’s waterways, she didn’t know she was going to actually encounter the millions of human bones:
“It suddenly got crunchy and I looked down and saw we were crawling on skeletons. Skulls lined the walls, and it smelled horrid. As soon as someone turned a corner, you had no idea where they went,” she’s was quoted as saying. “We got down to one of the lowest levels when all of a sudden water started flooding the tunnels. It was time to surf.”
Teal is the daughter of a globe-trotting National Geographic photographer. She’s made a career of traveling the world, pink bikini and surfboard often in tow, making videos about her adventures, and she even can be seen here paddling towards the bubbling Kilauea Volcano on the big island of Hawaii. A truly incredible woman!
Recently returning from New Zealand exploring and previously working at the BBC as a freelance sports reporter, she's ever active with motocross, skateboarding, surfing and skiing. "Never stay always explore.."