The History of Big Wave Surfing: Pe‘ahi

May 05, 2020

The History of Big Wave Surfing: Pe‘ahi

Peʻahi, also known as Jaws, is a tow-in surf site on the island of Maui – gaining itʻs credibility as being one of the best places on earth for big wave surfing. Peʻahi got itʻs nickname “Jaws” in 1975 by three Maui surfers, John Potterick, John Lemus and John Robertson. According to their story, when they surfed Jaws for the first time, it changed abruptly from small waves to huge and dangerous waves in a matter of minutes. They described it as the same feeling and unpredictability you get when you encounter a shark – thus “Jaws” was born.

Jaws is only for professional and experienced surfers – itʻs said that Jaws can reach heights of 70-feet and come at you at 30 miles per hour! During the winter months for a period of about 15 days a year, the surf break reveals its most monstrous waves. In recent years, the most elite surfers are challenging the pearly-whites of Jaws, but without the help of being towed in. There are several surfers who are now paddling out – a more pure act of surfing inspired by the Pe‘ahi Challenge.

Jaws is about pushing limits and challenging heights unlike any other. Not every wave is created equal and this is certainly the truth for Jaws. With the shape of its ridge and change in ocean depth – a beautiful yet violent bowl wave is created. Ready to bite down on those who are brave enough to face it!

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