Maui News

Peʻahi Challenge ON with 40-50 Foot Surf

December 6, 2015, 8:16 AM HST
* Updated December 7, 2:44 PM
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Caption: It's ON! Mammoth surf greets competitors for the Pe'ahi Challenge! Image: WSL / Scholtz

Caption: It’s ON! Mammoth surf greets competitors for the Pe’ahi Challenge!
Image: WSL / Scholtz

The WSL Big Wave Tour Peʻahi Challenge has been called ON commencing at 8 a.m. this morning in 40’ to 50’ faces at the infamous big wave location. This marks the first BWT event at Peʻahi, famously known as “Jaws,” with competitors paddling into the gigantic swell – no tow-assist will be given.

“We’re looking at true Peʻahi this morning with forty-to-fifty-foot-plus faces coming in this morning,” WSL Big Wave Commissioner Pete Mel said in a statement. “It’s what we were hoping for with the rise in bouys yesterday afternoon and everyone is excited for what’s in store. It will ease up throughout the day, even as the morning progresses, but still provide us plenty of incredible waves to crown a champion this afternoon,” said Mel.

Surfline, the official forecaster of the World Surf League, issued the following forecast:

We picked up a couple more satellite passes measuring wave heights in the now weakening storm, including one measurement of 35-38’ seas (slightly above model guidance) around 1200 miles northwest of Hawaii. So no real change on swell size/arrival time from our last update. Swell peak still looks likely to be somewhere around 2 a.m. for Maui, with the largest waves showing at Peʻahi first thing Sunday morning in the 30-40’ range (face size) on the sets. I think max sets near 45’ on the face are still possible first thing. The swell will trend down through the afternoon, but still in the 20-35’ range on the face into the early afternoon.

The Peʻahi Challenge will be webcast LIVE, starting at 7:30 a.m. on with an expected 8 a.m. start. Additionally, the Peʻahi Challenge will be broadcast LIVE on Oceanic Time Warner Cable in Hawaiʻi as well as FUEL TV in Australia.

First in the water for Heat 1, Round 1 of the Peʻahi Challenge, Gabriel Villaran (PER), Nathan Fletcher (USA), Carlos Burle (BRA), Dave Wassel (USA), Billy Kemper (HAW) and Nic Vaughan (USA) will take on the incredible waves on hand.


Heat 1: Gabriel Villaran (PER), Nathan Fletcher (USA), Carlos Burle (BRA), Dave Wassel (USA), Billy Kemper (HAW), Nic Vaughan (USA)
Heat 2: Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Greg Long (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Aaron Gold (HAW), Shaun Walsh (HAW), Trevor Carlson (HAW)
Heat 3: Nic Lamb (USA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Yuri Soledade (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW), Tyler Larronde (HAW)
Heat 4: Anthony Tashnick (USA), Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Koa Rothman (HAW), Shane Dorian (HAW), Ian Walsh (HAW), Kei Lenny (HAW)


Peʻahi Advisory:
Please be aware there is no public access available to the Peʻahi Challenge Big Wave Tour competition being held December 6 at the Maui surf break also known as Jaws. The cliff edges surrounding the break are private property and the event permits limit the number of personnel and vehicles in the area due to safety and environmental concerns. Big wave fans can catch all the action live on the webcast at and on Oceanic Time Warner Cable in Hawaiʻi (check listing for channel) starting at 7:30 a.m. Hawaiian time as well as FUEL TV in Australia. There are also two viewing parties on Maui at the venues noted below which will have the contest steaming on big screen TVs and a great place to enjoy the event in a festive, safe environment. Police and event security will be controlling all vehicle and pedestrian access to the property and the pubic is asked to avoid the Hana Highway area east of Pāʻia on Sunday to reduce traffic congestion.

Official Peʻahi Challenge viewing party locations:

Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon
142 Hāna Hwy, Pāʻia, HI


LuLu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill
1221 Honoapiʻilani Hwy, Lahaina, HI

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