Biggest Waves Ever Surfed at Jaws, Maui

jaws hawaii
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Biggest Waves Ever Surfed at Jaws, Maui

Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay aren’t the only places to see big-wave surfing in Hawaii. Hop over to Maui’s North Shore, and you’ll see what we’re talking about – specifically to a place called “Jaws.”

The deepwater reef break is known for its ferocious waves that are rumored to reach heights of up to 120-feet and move as fast as 30 mph. Because of the immense size and speed, most wave riders must get towed-in by jet ski. On big days, it’s almost impossible to paddle into waves (using only their arms), like you see most surfers do at other breaks. Even experienced kite surfers take on the wrath of Jaws.

Jaws, also known as Peahi in Hawaiian (the name for the surrounding district), has been at the forefront of the recent tow surfing revolution around the world. Many people had not heard about this spot until several surf documentaries came out in early 2000. This turned out to be both good and bad because, on one hand, the films highlighted some of the world’s most elite surfers. On the other, they drew larger crowds of unexperienced surfers to the break and therefore creating hazardous surfing conditions for everyone. So far, no one has drowned at Jaws.

Several prominent surfers have been lobbying to regulate tow surfing at this break for safety reasons. A couple of years after the documentaries debuted, old cars were placed across the road to Jaws and intentionally set on fire. Many say this blockage happened after the lookout was overcrowded by spectators one big day, making it dangerous not only for inexperienced surfers but also for observers.

Today, the surf can be viewed from a high sea cliff overhead; however, space is limited. The only way to get to it is by foot, since only four-wheel drive vehicles can access the road to Jaws from the main highway. The roundtrip walk to the lookout is about three miles. Experts advise spectators to use extreme caution and to avoid bringing small kids along, as there are no lifeguards nor hospitals nearby in case of an emergency.

Jaws Surf Spot, also known as Pe’ahi, is a world-renowned big wave surfing spot located on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. It is known for its massive waves, which can reach up to 60 feet or more in height during the winter months (December to March).

Jaws is a challenging and dangerous wave, and it is only for experienced big wave surfers. The waves are powerful and unpredictable, and the bottom is shallow and rocky. There have been several serious injuries and even fatalities at Jaws over the years.

Despite the dangers, Jaws is a popular spot for big wave surfers from around the world. The Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards has listed Jaws as the winning break more than any other place in the world.

If you are an experienced surfer who is looking for a challenge, Jaws is definitely a spot to add to your bucket list. However, it is important to be aware of the dangers and to take all necessary precautions before paddling out.

Here are some additional details about Jaws Surf Spot:

  • Location: Haiku-Pauwela, Maui, Hawaii
  • Best time to surf: December to March
  • Wave size: Up to 60 feet or more
  • Bottom: Shallow and rocky
  • Difficulty: Expert
No tags