The (Modern) History of Jaws

No, I don't mean the great white shark from the 1975 classic film. I mean the big wave surfing mecca also known as Pe'ahi located a mere 30 minute hike from our front door. We hike to the cliffs that overlook this area almost every day. Pe'ahi means wave (as in to beckon) but most call the area Jaws, likening the monster waves to the ferocious movie star. Depending on who you talk to, especially around here, Jaws is known as the best place to catch the best surf in the world. You know, the kind in the movies. The kind with the big hollow barrels. Seriously, the waves here can get up to 70 feet tall and have been know to travel up to 30 miles per hour.

That's some serious surf for some serious surfers. Novices need not enter. Remember the viral news story about the surfer that fell 40 feet in an epic wipeout early in 2016? Yep. That was Jaws. Here it is, in case you missed it, thanks to YouTube's Furious Bland and NBC Nightly News.

Home sweet home.

This doesn't happen every day, mostly a few times in the winter months from what I understand, but the waves are pretty impressive year-round. Prior to 2010, the only method used to get to the mouth of these monsters was via the "tow-in" method, by which the surfer was brought in by helicopter, speedboat, or jet ski. Developed by Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama, two local surfing legends, the tow-in technique can be controversial in some surfing circles as it removes the paddling portion ritual. We've been told that surfers who would like to take a run at the death defying feat that is surfing Jaws need to be invited by a local surfer.

Why? I don't know. I don't know enough about the fascinating topic that is surfing culture. Yet. I can't wait to learn more, but that's going to take some time. I've also spent some time looking into the broader history of the Haiku-Pauwela area. Interesting stuff so far, but also needs more time. Actual library time. And probably a little language help.

Until then, here's a look at Jaws today around mid-morning. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Last note about today - RIP Prince. An epic loss for us all. Also, 2016 needs to leave musicians alone now. Seriously.