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PHOTOS: Big Wave Surfers Paddle 20 ft. JAWS

Posted January 5, 2012, 01:14 PM HST Updated January 6, 2012, 10:30 AM HST

By Madeline Ziecker

Surfers at Peahi (Jaws) on Wednesday, January 4. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

When it rains, it pours – and so it did on the morning of Wednesday, January 4 as brave surfers charged to go tackle some of the biggest waves this winter has seen at famous Maui big wave surf spot in outer Haiku, Peahi (Jaws).

Surfers, jet-skis and boats were already out on the water at Jaws at 6 a.m., even in spite of the torrents of rain throughout the night in Haiku which threatened to carry into Wednesday morning.

By 8 a.m., plenty of spectators had begun arriving at Jaws to stake their viewing spots. The result of  hundreds of people trying to navigate a wet, muddy, unpaved, narrow, winding road through a cane field on the way to a cliffside was messy indeed.

Spectators at Jaws. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Several cars got stuck on the way up and down the road throughout the day, but in the end improvisation came in handy and many compromised cars were able to escape their predicaments.

Those who parked at the top of the road and walked down faced different road challenges, especially those clad in sandals. The mud was so slippery and deep that several people removed their shoes, reverting to man’s ancient habit of walking barefoot in nature.

Courtesy photo by a local surfer in a nearby boat.

Some surfers brought towing partners at the beginning of their sessions, but all jet-skis moved aside as a safety measure when several daring and capable surfers pushed a trend that blew everyone away – paddling into the monster waves without towing.

Talented big wave surfers both new and familiar paddled into 15 to 20 foot waves until the early afternoon, including Ian Walsh, Matt Meola, Dave Wassel, Khol Christensen, Greg Long, Shane Dorian, Tyler Larronde, and Albee Layer.

Parents of some of the more reckless surfers convened in huddles of concern on the cliffside, sure of their childrens’ abilities in the water but still afraid for their safety.

Albee Layer catching a barrel. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

One of the day’s highlights was during mid-morning when Albee layer glided into the barrel of a nearly 20 ft. wave.

Layer’s Facebook status later on Wednesday read, “Surfed with all my heroes at huge, epic Jaws…couldn’t be happier.”


Another glorious moment was when Shane Dorian climbed to the lip of an epic wave, slipped into the air, and landed, slicing down the smooth wall of water.

The National Weather Service predicts that waves will stay elevated from 12 to 20 feet on Maui’s north shores until Friday, January 6.

Click here for details and updates on this week’s High Surf Advisory for Maui.

On the road to Peahi (Jaws). Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

A jet ski driver escapes a crushing wave at Jaws. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Surfers wait for the perfect wave to paddle in to while jet ski's remain vigilant on the side. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

A surfer goes down after slipping on his drop into a large wave. Photo by Madeline Ziecker.

See page 2 and 3  for more Jaws surf photos from Wednesday, January 4.


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