Pe'ahi Challenge

BWT Event Guide: Pe'ahi Challenge

Official Event Site
EVENT WINDOW: Northern Hemisphere (October 15-February 28)
LOCATION: Pe'ahi, Maui, Hawaii
COORDINATES: 20.9167° N, 156.2833° W
BAGGAGE CLAIM: Kahului Airport, Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)

THE WAVE: Pe'ahi, or "Jaws", is considered by most big wave surfers to be the pinnacle of big wave surfing because of the challenging conditions. The wave can reach heights of 60 feet or more. Its enormity comes from a large underwater ridge that reaches out to the northwest of Maui and causes the deep water of the Pacific to refract and bend as the surface gets increasingly shallow.

"Its strategic location at the Northern tip of Maui contributes with both swell exposure as well as wind," explained Gary Linden, VP of the Big Wave Tour (BWT). "The swell pushes against the wind allowing the wave to stand up to its full height creating a barrel of unheard-of proportions."

THE LOCALE: Pe'ahi is in the township of Haiku, Maui. Haiku is at the edge of a rainforest so you get all the scenery of the tropics with the benefit of a fresh ocean breeze. "Haiku" translates to "sharp break" -- a bit more literal than the poetry of "Pe'ahi," which means to wave or beckon.

EXTRACURRICULARS: If you need some recovery time, there's plenty of adventure and R&R nearby. There are a number of zipline companies for some tree-to-tree aerial views of the rainforest. Plus, a visit to the top of the island's highest peak in the Haleakala National Park never disappoints.

NOTABLE: The event in Maui would be the first-ever contested paddle-battle at the infamous break. Event organizers are looking for a mix of big winter storms pushing through the Western portion of the North Pacific and calm winds from the South.

"Paddling into such a wave requires perfect positioning, timing and impeccable wave knowledge in general," Linden said. "Pe'ahi in Hawaiian culture is a sacred place and it demands respect from all who visit."


WSL Big Wave Tour Top Ten Seeds
Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Nic Lamb (USA)
Anthony Tashnick (USA)
Greg Long (USA)
Nathan Fletcher (USA)
Grant Baker (ZAF)
Natxo Gonzales (EUK)
Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Carlos Burle (BRA)

Injury Wildcard
Alex Gray (USA)

Video Invitees
Nic Vaughan
Trevor Sven Carlson

Event Invitees
Ian Walsh (HAW)
Albee Layer (HAW)
Billy Kemper (HAW)
Shaun Walsh (HAW)
Kai Lenny (HAW)
Tyler Larronde (HAW)

BWT Invitees
Shane Dorian (HAW)
Kelly Slater (USA)
Mark Healey (HAW)
David Wassel (HAW)
Aaron Gold (HAW)


Video Invitee Alternates
Mark Mathews (AUS)
James Taylor

Event Invitee Alternates
Francisco Porcella
DK Walsh
Marcio Freire

BWT Invitee Alternates
Yuri Soledade
Koa Rothman (HAW)
Garrett McNamara (HAW)

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