Event Window Closes for Jaws
RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi, officially closed its...
RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi, officially closed its 2012/13 holding period last Friday, March 15. A paddle-in big wave surfing competition inaugurated on the Hawaiian island of Maui on December 7, 2012, the one-day invitational event was reserved for waves in the range of 30 to 50 feet combined with light to no winds. Ultimately, waves of this magnitude, along with the proper weather conditions, did not materialize during the designated holding period and RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi did not run. In its commitment to holding the event, organizers are currently exploring options to expand the holding period for the 2013/14 season.
Regarded as the most consistent focal point for giant surf during northern hemisphere winters, Hawaii dominates the big wave scene from December through March, with Jaws being home to the largest rideable waves of all.
But all huge waves are dependent upon the source: intense winter storm systems that originate in the NW Pacific. The ferocity, duration and directional path of these winter storms determine the quality and size of waves that ultimately hit the northern shores of the Hawaiian Islands. Some years, fueled by phenomenon like El Niño weather patterns, the intensity and frequency of these swells peak. That was not the case this winter, which will go down in the books as a La Niña winter - a year with suppressed storm development.
Twenty-one invitees remained ready to activate throughout the 3-month holding period of RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi. With the window now closed, and the Hawaiian winter behind them, their focus will now shift to other surf zones.
“Attention shifts down below the equator now,” says RED BULL JAWS invitee Ian Walsh. “We probably have another week or two we can milk it in Hawaii and then Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Fiji, and Tahiti become a big hit on the radar for me that I'll be paying close attention to.”
Regarding the closing of the RED BULL JAWS holding period, Walsh said, “It pays off to be patient and not force the event. I’m glad it wasn't called on. All the calls the contest organizers made were spot on. A lot of the days we were watching potential swells on the charts panned out to be really mediocre in actuality. Hopefully next winter offers more opportunities to tune in our equipment, get time in at the break, and get to run.”
This first year of RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi has been priceless in its learnings, and in establishing solid working relationships with Alexander & Baldwin Properties, the local community, the City and County of Maui, and Senator J. Kalani English and the State of Hawai’i. An unprecedented safety team has been put in place and has had the opportunity to run through critical procedures that will be vital when the event does run. The surfers have had one more winter to familiarize themselves with Pe'ahi, and with great anticipation join the RED BULL JAWS operations team in looking forward to the return of RED BULL JAWS, Paddle at Pe'ahi later in 2013. When the contest does run, it is still scheduled to air on NBC as part of the Red Bull Signature Series.