Is This The Biggest Wave Ever Paddled Switch? - Stab Mag

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Is This The Biggest Wave Ever Paddled Switch?

Kai Lenny goes wrong-footed on opening day at Jaws (see 3:30).

elsewhere // Dec 21, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: < 1 minute

“You shouldn’t be too comfortable just going straight down a wave,” Kai Lenny told Stab for an upcoming Red Bull feature on the ‘art’ of tow surfing. “I think the direction big wave surfing is headed is more performance-based. Less about catching the biggest wave, because anyone could do that, more about riding a sixty-foot wave, as you would a six-foot wave.” 

Hawaii’s winter has begun, which is to say: sand has begun crawling out the cracks and ravines at Banzai, the ‘Ehukai’ mist is back hovering over the Kamehameha Highway, and the Pacific Ocean is once again tonic with swell. For Kai, it has meant a fair bit of island-hopping 116 miles from his home in Maui to Oahu and back. Rising froth levels too, of course. 

This clip is from the first swell at Jaws of the 2022/2023 season, and features A-listers from the big-wave world such as Kai, Greg Long, Izzi Gomez, Paige Alms and more. It would be a stretch to call Jaws ever ‘inviting’, but this is about as user-friendly as it gets in Peahi. Sunny, less than twenty-knot wind – ‘Maui glass’, as locals jokingly refer to it, with plenty of poke to get the heart pumping. 

That is for most mortals however, Kai goes to the additional effort of trying to ride Jaws switch (see 3:30) for a little extra dopa hit.

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