Jaws Swell Sends January Out With A Bang

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The last two days of the month brought some very large surf to the North Shore of Maui. The swell started to rise significantly late in the morning of the 30th and continued to build throughout the day to heights well in excess of the 25 feet necessary for a high surf warning. This big surf meant Maui’s world famous big wave break came to life. I had the opportunity to head out to Haiku to watch the action at Jaws both on the late afternoon of the 30th and the morning of the 31st.

Each day had its own distinct personality. The afternoon of the 30th was a building swell with particularly big and hollow barrels. I arrived just as the wind was dying and was able to see the very tail end of the windsurfing action. The windsurfers were interspersed with a handful of tow surfers (surfers being pulled into the waves by Jet Skis). After the windsurfers packed up, it was just the tow surfers left in the lineup. I was able to watch Maui Real Estate Team Agent Martin Lenny’s son Kai catch a couple on his windsurfer before towing into a few nice waves. The beautiful late afternoon light was a striking contrast with the menacing looking surf. Here is a quick video showing some of the waves from Monday afternoon.

The surf peaked in size overnight and then started to come down on the morning on the 31st. While the surf was smaller, it was still substantial by the standards of mortal surfers. The composition of the wave riders had also changed. With lighter winds, the line up was dominated by surfers paddling into the waves with their own two hands. There was also one tow team surfing the left and legendary waterman Robbie Naish was out on a stand up paddle board. Here is some video I captured from yesterday morning.

I always enjoy the opportunity to head down the bumpy, old, dirt roads that lead you to the cliffs above Jaws. This wave is a sensory experience and a true spectacle of nature. While I can’t bring you the full sounds of the roaring surf or the smell of the salty mist generated by the waves, I hope these videos give you at least a taste of the visual feast that Jaws offers.

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