The most notorious spot on Maui is a wave most surfers are extremely unlikely to ride. With the development of tow-in surfing in the early 90's, Jaws burst onto the scene, amazing the world with the sheer magnitude of the waves that were being ridden there by a select group of windsurfing and surfing hell-men. As big wave surfing has developed, Jaws has maintained the biggest and baddest tag, even providing 4 of the 5 nominations for the XXL awards and winning biggest wave in ‘03, ’04, ’05 and ’10 plus monster paddle (x2), tube and ride categories in 2011 (and 2012). Takes any N swell, with more W favouring the long lefts, but it is the perfect, house-sized right tubes that most people associate with Jaws. Other waves have been discovered that challenge Jaws on height supremacy, but few can match its steroidal perfection. If you are thinking of tackling this wave, you will need far more knowledge of the spot than we can fit here and proper tow-in experience so as not to be a liability in the increasingly zooed line-up. A few of the hazards include trade wind cross chop and large speed-bump ribs that traverse the face, swatting surfers like bugs on a windshield. The impact zone is a washing machine all the way to the cliffs, regularly pulverizing boards, skis and bodies then punishing anyone fool enough to try and rescue their equipment off the slippery grinding boulders. Then there’s launching at Maliko Gulch where punching in and out of the closed out bay is a game of Russian Roulette.
If a huge swell hits Maui, drive out to Peahi, find a park on the western headland then a comfortable spot on the cliff and watch the show below. Remember to bring binoculars and a long lens!