Maui News

WSL Big Wave Season now open with Peʻahi event holding period starting Nov. 10

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Billy Kemper (HAW) winner of the 2018 “JAWS” Challenge at Peʻahi, Maui. The win was Kemper’s third career victory at Peʻahi. Photo Credit: © WSL / Hallman 

The World Surf League 2023/2024 Big Wave season is officially open. This Big Wave season will feature events at two iconic locations: the TUDOR “Jaws” Big Wave Challenge at Peʻahi on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands; and the TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge in Nazaré, Portugal.  The holding period to run the competition at Nazaré opens today, and Peʻahi starts on Nov. 10. Both events’ holding periods close on March 31, 2024.

The WSL Tours and Competition Team will closely monitor the swells and conditions needed to run these events and will call the competition ON once wave heights and weather align for the best possible conditions. The best big wave surfers in the world will be on call to activate at a moment’s notice and travel to one of the two world-class venues.

These events showcase fearless athletes who have committed their lives to chasing monumental swells and conquering towering waves.

Big Wave Surfers Prepare for Major Swells

Peʻahi (often referred to as “Jaws”) on Maui and Praia do Norte in Nazaré are two of the most renowned and respected waves in the big wave community. Each location is a significant proving ground for the paddle-in and tow-in disciplines, respectively, and the site of historical World Records for the largest waves ever ridden. 


Some of the most memorable moments in big wave surfing have happened during these past events. The 2019 Peʻahi event saw massive barrels and heavy wipeouts. The 2022 Nazaré Challenge witnessed the next level of tow surfing as competitors performed technical maneuvers on giant waves. 

The WSL Tours and Competition team will look for consistent surf, with a minimum of 25 feet on the face of the wave throughout the competition. Other conditions, such as wind, tide, and fog, will be assessed in the decision to run the competitions. If a large swell tracks toward the contest location(s) with favorable weather conditions, the WSL Tours and Competition team will issue a probable start “Big Wave Yellow Alert” as far as 72 hours out from the potential event run date. If the conditions continue to track favorably, the “Big Wave Green Alert” will be issued, meaning the competition will be ON in the next 24 hours. 

The WSL announces the commencement of its Big Wave season in collaboration with Red Bull, marking the fifth-consecutive year of the partnership. Fans and extreme sports enthusiasts worldwide can experience the events LIVE via Red Bull TV and

Andrea Moller (BRA) surfing in the 2018 “JAWS” Challenge at Pe’ahi, Maui. PC: © WSL / Hallman 

TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge

The TUDOR “Jaws” Big Wave Challenge will showcase paddle-in surfing at the famed break off of Maui, Hawaiʻi. Due to its power, velocity, and ability to be one of the most perfect big waves on the planet, Peʻahi is the standard venue when it comes to paddle-in big wave surfing. 


Recognizing the devastating Maui wildfires, the WSL continues to work with local surfers, civic, and community leaders to ensure that this event directly benefits Maui’s people and economy and is a source of support and community revitalization along the lengthy road to recovery.

As with all Big Wave competitions held at Peʻahi since the event’s inception, due to safety and environmental concerns, there is no location available for on-site spectating during the TUDOR “Jaws” Big Wave Challenge. There will be no parking available to non-residents on either side of Hāna Highway anywhere near the event location on the day of the competition. All the action from the competition will be broadcast live and fans are encouraged to tune in to the live broadcast or support local businesses that air the event live.

About the Format and Invitees 

The TUDOR “Jaws” Big Wave Challenge will feature paddle-in surfing in an individual competition format. In the men’s division, 24 competitors are divided into four heats of six surfers for the first round. The three highest-scoring surfers advance to the Semifinals, which run in the same format, and the top three surfers from the Semifinals advance to the Final. The women’s division runs in a similar format with 12 competitors participating in two six-surfer Semifinals with the top three surfers in each heat advancing to the Final. 

This season will be the first time six-surfer priority will come into play in a big wave competition. Priority is the system that controls who has the first option to ride a wave. The priority system was requested by the surfers and is beneficial for Peʻahi because it creates organization and adds safety in the lineup in massive swells. Heats are generally 45 minutes and surfers may catch as many waves as they wish, respecting priority, with a panel of five judges scoring each ride on a scale of 1 to 10. Each competitor’s two best waves are counted, with their best-wave score doubled. 


Confirmed competitor lists and heat draws will be shared closer to the event being called on as athletes confirm their participation.

Men’s Invitees
1 – Billy Kemper (HAW)
2 – Ian Walsh (HAW)
3 – Nathan Florence (HAW)
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW)
5 – Makua Rothman (HAW)
6 – Lucas Chianca (BRA)
7 – Russell Bierke (AUS)
8 – Nic von Rupp (PRT)
9 – Eli Olson (HAW)
10 – Torrey Meister (HAW)
11 – Koa Rothman (HAW)
12 – Nic Lamb (USA)
13 – Grant Baker (RSA)
14 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
15 – Albee Layer (HAW)
16 – Tyler Larronde (HAW)
17 – Jojo Roper (USA)
18 – Ty Simpson-Kane (HAW)
19 – Matt Bromley (RSA)
20 – Francisco Porcella (ITA)
21 – Trevor Carlson (HAW)
22- Tom Lowe (GBR)
23 – Aaron Gold (HAW)
24 – Greg Long (USA)

Women’s Invitees
1 – Paige Alms (HAW)
2 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS)
3 – Annie Reickert (HAW)
4 – Keala Kennelly (HAW)
5 – Emily Erickson (HAW)
6 – Michaela Fregonese (BRA)
7 – Bianca Valenti (USA)
8 – Skylar Lickle (HAW)
9 – Justine Dupont (FRA)
10 – Raquel Heckert (BRA)
11 – Laura Enever (AUS)
12 – Izzy Gomez (COL)

TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge 

Crowd and line-up during the TUDOR Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge presented by Jogos Santa Casa on Dec. 12, 2021 in Nazaré, Portugal. (Photo by Laurent Masurel/World Surf League)

The TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge, will showcase the best of big wave surfing in the tow-in discipline. In this competition, competitors will work in teams, utilizing jet skis to surf the biggest waves possible at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal. Praia do Norte is home to some of the biggest waves in the world, including the current Big Wave Tow Surfing World Records.

Sebastian Steudtner (GER) currently holds the record for the largest wave surfed (unlimited) – male, for his 86-foot ride at Nazaré in 2021.

The TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge will be a specialty one-day, teams event with tow-in surfing. There will be nine teams made up of two competitors in each team. The teams will be divided into three groups, with three teams in each group. The competition will have a total of six 40-minute heats, where each group will participate in two heats, with each team alternating between surfing and driving the team’s jet ski.

A surfer’s best two waves after surfing both heats will count to an individual total score, with the best wave counting as double points. In total, a surfer’s maximum individual score will be 30 points, as each wave is scored from 1-10 points. Surfers will be awarded across multiple categories at the end of the competition day. 

Confirmed competitor lists and heat draws will be shared closer to the event being called on as athletes confirm their participation.

TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge Invitees:
Team 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) and Kai Lenny (HAW)
Team 2: Nic von Rupp (PRT) and Pedro Scooby (BRA)
Team 3: Andrew Cotton (GBR) and Will Skudin (USA)
Team 4: Rodrigo Koxa (BRA) and Kealii Mamala (HAW)
Team 5: João De Macedo (PRT) and Antônio Silva (PRT)
Team 6: Sebastian Steudtner (DEU) and Daniel Goldberg (HAW)
Team 7: Maya Gabeira (BRA) and Pierre Rollet (FRA)
Team 8: Michelle des Bouillons (BRA) and Ian Cosenza (PRT)
Team 9: Justine Dupont (FRA) and Éric Rebière (FRA) 

Alternate Teams:
Rafael Tapia (CHL) and Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
António Laureano (PRT) and Pierre Caley (FRA)
Benjamin Sanchis (FRA) Jerome Sayhoun (MAR) 2023/2024 WSL Big Wave Season Now Ope

Watch LIVE

The TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge, holds a waiting period from Nov. 6, 2023, through March 31, 2024. The TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge, holds a waiting period from Nov. 10, 2023, through March 31, 2024. The competitions will be broadcast LIVE on Red Bull TV and

The 2023/2024 WSL Big Wave competitions are supported by TUDOR, Red Bull, Surfline, and 805 Beer.


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