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."