This show is on the road. I’m on a working holiday of sorts in one of my personal paradises: Maui, Hawaii. Renovations are required and I’m here for support labor on some of the bigger projects for my dad. Since finding employment has proven more trying than it should be with my qualifications, I was free. If I hadn’t been free, I’d have made myself free. It’s Maui. Not exactly a difficult choice.
The Sunday we arrived was also the day of the first ever Big Wave Tour paddle-in challenge at Pe’ahi, Maui’s world-famous big wave break on its north shore. It’s often referred to as Jaws. During the winter, Pe’ahi can reach anywhere from 40 to 60 feet. With that kind of swell and surf coming up on top of you, I imagine it very much feels like being swallowed and chewed up in the wash by angry bone ripping teeth. Wipeouts are harsher and can be more life threatening here than most breaks with the height and speed of these super waves.
Getting to the cliffside to observe used to be an offroading spectacular of deep muddy trenches and potholes, overgrown brush smacking into your windows, and winding through the wreckage of rusted out and overturned abandoned vehicles.
Now it’s practically a highway (at least in comparison). Some rusty shells remain and the growing brush still encroaches, but the potholes are few and the gravel packed down making it less of a 4×4 adventure and something that more tourists can venture to in their Ford Fusions and convertible Mustangs.
The view is still spectacular. When the swell here gets to 20 feet it’s worth making the trek. We went out again Wednesday when another swell came in – nothing as legendary as the 35-45 ft giants that were out in force for the lineup on Sunday, but nothing to balk at. A couple boats, up to 7 jet skis, 4 or 5 windsurfers, 2 kiteboarders and 3 surfers were out as a large group of onlookers, photographers, and a helicopter took in the spectacle. And what a spectacle it was: