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Isn't it great to see Laird back swooping in at Jaws, it's like the last decade never happened.© 2014 Mike Neal
Ian Walsh back on jet power after leading the paddle revolution. This is a big wave.© 2014 Mike Neal
There has to be an XXL here?© 2014 Mike Neal
When the birds are flying you know someone is forking out serious coin.© 2014 Mike Neal
Francisco Porcella is a waterman with a preference for big waves. Living in Maui, Hawaii he heralds from Sardinia in Italy. He also surfs really well and took home an XXL.© 2014 Mike Neal
Having clobbered Jaws this swell is now on a direct path to Mavericks.© 2014 Mike Neal
"Not where you want to be" is a huge understatement at this point.© 2014 Mike Neal
They say caring is sharing and Chuck Patterson likes to take the high road with Billy Kemper down below.© 2014 Mike Neal
Thick and ledging inside section for Laird.© 2014 Mike Neal
Ian Walsh on a crazy number.© 2014 Mike Neal
This is why they call it the Big Blue.© 2014 Mike Neal
Yuri Soledade is a regular face out here when it is any size.© 2014 Mike Neal
Niccolo Porcella is another cross sports athlete who excels in the heavy stuff.© 2014 Mike Neal
Ian Wash and a fins free mid face turn, is he about to fall off? Or just taking to the skies.© 2014 Mike Neal
Insert the Ride of the Valkyries into your personal soundtrack here.© 2014 Mike Neal
The help. At least if you get in trouble it will be caught on camera.© 2014 Mike Neal
Laird on a smaller specimen to end this series.© 2014 Mike Neal
This isn’t Throwback Thursday, Laird was back towing Jaws on Wednesday, Jan 22nd, without a paddler in sight as that familiar bright yellow butterfly hovered over the peak. Filming for Point Break 2 took over the Peahi/Jaws lineup yesterday during the Pacific mega swell and the nostalgia is coursing through our veins. Sadly Laird we are reliably informed will not be in the movie.
“Turns out they were filming Point Break 2 and they took over the whole lineup.” Mike Neal told us. “There were some big fat looking ones, but it was cloudy, rainy and windy. Far from ideal conditions. Laird was ripping, but took a couple bad wipeouts.” Mr Hamilton has been pretty quiet of late, surfing well out of the endemic spotlight and claims to use forecasting to avoid the madding crowd, however give him a monster wave and he’ll be there faster than a rocket powered hydrofoil.
According to Gabby, Laird’s wife, “Laird was not working on that film project. He merely went to Maui to surf for his own experience and pleasure.”
This is a huge swell, on a par with the recent Hercules event which recently rocked Europe, anything near 20ft @ 20 seconds is a rare top percentile system. However there were some crazy numbers being thrown around before the swell, we were seeing nearly 40ft @ 20 seconds of swell a being touted in some places. Probably enough to wash the islands away.
And whilst still huge, our model data was considerably lower than these optimistic outlooks. So, how did our forecast fare against the buoy records? *You have to be logged in to view historic records.
Our Jaws (Maui) forecast was 18ft @ 18 seconds and the Maui buoy was 18ft @ 18 seconds
Having forecast 22ft @ 18 seconds for Waimea, the buoy recorded a peak of 24ft @ 18 seconds
This system now moves onto Mavericks and the most exciting Big Wave World Tour event of the year which is forecast to top last year’s inconsistent event.
“Interestingly this years contest falls only days apart from the date of last year’s event, and like 2013 the swell is not quite a typical big wave beast.” Says Forecaster Ben Freeston “Where we’d typically look at swells in the 16ft@16 second range, requiring a relatively nearby storm, on both of the last two years the contest has been called on much more distant, longer period swells.
“The results last year, with a clean 7-8ft@19 seconds, were both inconsistency and somewhat modest size against the benchmark set by the spot. This years exceptional swell maintains that long period but adds almost 50% to the size in the 10-11ft range. Given our forecast model has already validated well by satellite, and at the wave buoys in Hawaii, it’d be reasonable to expect the breaking wave heights to mirror this increase in swell size, albeit still with those slightly longer intervals typical of these more distant swells. With light offshore winds, sunny skies and that swell peaking during the day, it looks like a great call for competition.”
Welcome to the plateau. It's where we gather to watch Yago Dora soar above our heads.
These are the fortunate few. Many epic sessions have fallen by the wayside, victims to our ruthless monthly culls, but the results are wondrous to behold.
Patagonia is a challenging lover, said the English novelist, Bruce Chatwin. It haunts you, it bewitches you, it wraps you in its arms and does not let you go.
Welcome to the winners' podium. The cream of February lies before you in four spectacular Atlantic sessions, big barrels being the theme.
The symbiosis of surfer and winter. The Astray Collective and Finisterre bring you a short narrated by Matt Smith and produced by Mickey Smith