"Jaws" (Pe'ahi) is the name given to a big wave surfing reef break on the island of Maui in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is located on the northern side of the island between mile markers 13 and 14 on the Hana highway and sits at the base of rolling sugar cane field hills.
20-30' PEAHE JUST 2 CHRISTMAS' AGO.
The surf break, a deep water reef break, is called "Jaws" due to the size and ferocity of the waves. The waves at "Jaws" are rumored to reach heights of 120 ft (36.6 m) on the face of the wave, moving as fast as 30 mph
The Jaws surf break is the home of tow-in surfing and has reached its worldwide watersports fame largely due to the frequent filming and photography of tow-in surfing legends performing there on enormous ocean waves breaking at the deep reef off the shore; famed big wave surfers such as tow-in surfing pioneers (also known as "The Strapped Crew"-for the rubber straps on their short surfboards to anchor their feet against the forces) notably Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama.
In order for the surf at "Jaws" to reach its extreme heights, many specific ocean and weather conditions must prevail concurrently. Because ocean swells large enough to produce this kind of surf occur only during winter months, primarily between December and February, they typically coincide with very strong winds which have a large effect on the surf. Other swells, particularly the small but powerful trade wind swells, can make the surf choppy and difficult to ride. There are several other surf spots around the world that boast similar wave heights; however, "Jaws" is famous for its wave forming quality. The reef and rocks at "Jaws" are shaped in a way that magnify incoming swell energy and produce clean and well defined right and left-directional waves with gigantic barreling (hollow, air-filled wave interior) sections.
Tow-surfing at Pe'ahi "Jaws" beach
"Jaws" has been significant in recent years with the development and popularization of tow surfing. While many other big wave surf breaks around the world have seen an increase in tow surfing, "Jaws" has been at the forefront of the tow surfing revolution. Several documentary surf films, such as Stacey Peralta's Riding Giants and Dana Brown's Step Into Liquid, have exposed the quality of the wave to the world and immense crowding has plagued the break on the biggest days of surf. This has led to several dangerous and potentially life threatening incidents. So far nobody has drowned at "Jaws"; however' several prominent surfers have been lobbying to regulate or even limit tow surfing at the break for safety reasons.
Laird Hamilton is quoted in Laird (White Knuckle Extreme) (2001) saying that he and others are scanning over topographical maps, trying to find other beaches throughout the world with the same characteristics.On January 26, 2011, Australian Surfer Mark Visser became the first person to ever surf Jaws at night