Where is Jaws Big Wave Surfing?

Where is Jaws Big Wave Surfing

Jaws is located in Maui, an island in Hawaii that boasts of some of the biggest waves you can surf in the world. It is also home to beautiful beaches that will make any summer vacation memorable and fun. If you’re into big wave surfing, this place should be one of the surfing spots you should never miss to see.

Where is Jaws big wave surfing?

Many people often get confused about where Jaws’ big wave surfing is. This is because Jaws is also referred to as Peahi. It turns out, there’s no need to be confused about where to surf the biggest waves in Maui as Jaws is just a monicker given to Peahi.

For starters, Peahi is the original name of the beach. It was only in 1975 when three surfers — John Lemus, John Potterick, and John Roberson — started calling Peahi as Jaws.

Because of its unpredictability, which is much like the man-eating shark in Stephen Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws. Hence, the monicker.

Now, Peahi or Jaws, as what many people call it today, is located on the island of Maui. And if you plan to get here, of course, you will need a plane that will take you to Hawaii as this is where the island of Maui is located.

How many surfers have died at Jaws?

Jaws is known for its unpredictability. For a second, the waves are small; but in a blink of an eye, the waves rolling towards you can get as high as 66 feet. It’s already 1.3 times the height of the famous Hollywood sign in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Moreover, the water in this area is as deep as around 100 feet. The Jaws also sits right next to a shallow reef and it is where the waves break.

And because of these factors, it’s easy to think that many have probably died here. But, surprisingly, there has been no record of anyone dying at the Jaws.

There are instances where surfers suffered from traumatic experiences due to how strong the waves at the Jaws can get, though.

Near-Death Experience at Jaws

Near-Death Experience at Jaws

One of them is Ken Collins. In 2009, Collins decided to surf at Jaws without knowing what the consequences will be when he falls from his surfboard.

Unfortunately, after coming off at the bottom of the wave he was trying to catch, which was 70-foot tall, he got thrown over. The wave held him down the surface.

Luckily, he managed to swim towards the surface. However, as he tried to catch his breath, another huge wave copped him.

In an interview, Collins shared that how he managed to stay alive as the waves tried to drown him. He said that he tweaked his back and tried to hyperextend his neck and hip.

Fortunately for Collins, the odds were in his favor. As he was being rescued, another wave rolled through. But, this time, it helped them get to a safer place.

Collins is one of the few big wave surfers around the world who managed to overcome death while surfing without fatal injuries. However, such an experience traumatized him a lot that he swore to never go big wave surfing at Jaws, as well as other surf spots, ever again.

Surviving Jaws

Compared to other near-death experiences of other big wave surfers on other surf spots, Collins is one of the few lucky ones who managed to get out of the water alive without fatal injuries.

Pro surfers Albee Layer and Shane Dorian think this isn’t all because of pure luck, as per an interview with Stab Magazine. For Layer, he thinks that it’s because of the fact that the water temperature in Jaws is warmer, which helps surfers not to panic.

Apart from that, Jaws’ seafloor is a bit different from other famous big wave surfing spots, which empties into deep water. Here, the water only gets shallower.

Hence, when you make it to the surface even after being held down by a huge wave, the next waves are likely smaller. Hence, the chances of survival are higher.

As for Dorian, he thinks that the inflatable safety suits also make it easier to survive. Thus, despite huge waves, you’ll still be able to get back to the surface faster; so, you don’t easily drown.

Where is Jaws on Maui map?

Where is Jaws on Maui map?

Jaws is located on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii. To get here, you’ll have to go past the town of Paia. Head on the Hana Highway east. From there, you can reach the Jaws in seven miles. 

Where would surfers go to ride the biggest waves?

There are a lot of beaches to go to if you’re looking for huge waves to surf. Aside from Jaws, Hawaii also boasts of Sunset Beach, which offers challenging peaks for even the best big wave surfers in the world.

Apart from that, surfers also head to Backyards Beach. Here, you can expect faster big waves with thick lips and steep walls.

Of course, who wouldn’t forget about the Banzai Pipeline? Here, you can witness the famous and heaviest waves in the world. It is also pioneered by surfing legends Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell.

If you want to explore big waves outside Hawaii, California, Portugal, and Mexico are some of the places you should go to. In California, you have the Mavericks; in Portugal, there’s Nazare; and in Mexico, there’s Puerto Escondido.

The waves in these spots will not disappoint as well. However, note that some of these spots are also some of the deadliest, unlike Jaws. Still, they can give you the kind of adrenaline rush that you will not experience elsewhere in the world.

Jaws is one place in Hawaii that you shouldn’t miss. It offers safer waters yet you’re sure that you will have a fun and exciting big wave surfing experience.

About Carla Mesina

I'm a journalist passionate about extreme sports. I love writing and reading stories about those brave people that are going beyond the limit of their physical capabilities.

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