Posted on Jan 9, 2012


Haiku erupts into explosions and fog horns at the strike of midnight to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. January 2012 is here and starts with taking down xmas lights and the whisper of waves big enough to make Jaws break.

There’s glassy huge surf peeling into the hawaiian shores and professional surfers who were in Oahu for the Eddie Aikau big wave contest at Waimea Bay have been coming over to Maui in droves.

I walked down to Jaws this year to check out the action with friends from Ireland who have never seen the infamous wave going off. As we broke through the trail of pineapple fields and had our fist glimpse of the break below I was struck by an unusual scene, there were at least forty paddle surfers, no tow-surfers and Jaws was firing.

You know waves are giants and at least 50 foot when you look down from your perch on the cliff and the Pacific seems to shrink down to the size of a pond, when 120 ton whales breaching look like bait fish skimming the surface and the surfers riding ‘The Wave’ seem to scale down to the size of ants.



Paddling into a wave that size seems like a suicide mission. At one point, as I watched three guys go over the falls on a 50 foot set, I felt sick like I watching a snuff movie. I was in awe and riddled with fear watching these guys paddling into monsters. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and cold sweat dripped down my back as a few of the guys plunged over Jaw’s gapping mouth and into it’s deep dark pit. There’s a collective intake of breath as the crowds wait for the mere mortals to resurface amongst the rabid frothing white water. Brinks of despair hangs silently in the air while we watch the jet skies darting in and out amongst sets like mechanical humming birds to get to their partners.

Unlike windsurfers and tow-surfers the paddle guys sit there in the line up prey to the charging sets. Some waves come wide or that freak larger set comes through and they’re all just sitting ducks. Watching thirty guys paddling out with road runner arms and getting sucked up the face of Jaws with boards flying in all direction is just pure heart wrenching madness.

Windsurfing and tow-surfing at Jaws is amazing, but it’s more like watching a matador armed with knives and a red cape against a raging bull while paddling into a 50 foot wave is more like watching an unarmed naked man set against an enormous hungry tiger in a gladiator ring.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s hardcore to sail or tow Jaws… But those guys paddling into ‘The Wave” have definitely raised the ‘nuts’ bar. I’m just not sure if it’s the ‘nuts’ upstairs or downstairs. Probably both.

With the Pacific throwing the big rollers at our shores, Ho’okipa just closes out so we go  sailing down at Kanaha more frequently this month. After seeing the Peahi show, I feel more comfortable charging double over head sets knowing it’s like wavesailing ant hills compared to what I saw this morning!