10-Year-Old “Baby” Steve Roberson Whips Into Jaws
Welcome to surfing in 2018.
The way Kaleo Roberson tells it, his old man, John, split from the mainland—San Clemente specifically—in the late ‘60s, worked as a beach boy in Waikiki briefly until the Oahu scene got to full-on, then split to the quiet northern shore of Maui.
Somewhere around ’69 or ’70 local fishermen told him that there was a wave in the bay at Pe’ahi. He didn’t believe them. Then a swell hit. And, the legend of Jaws of was born.
“When people first started surfing it we watched them and figured it was for guys with money. We couldn’t afford the boats or skis or anything,” says Kaleo, reflecting on his formative years. “My brother, Justin, helped break down those barriers.”
Now the third generation of Roberson is making history at Jaws. Last month, Kaleo’s 10-year-old son, “Baby” Steve, became the youngest person to ever surf the place.
“It was his first time out there. He’d never been out there on a boat or a ski or anything,” Kaleo says. “But he wanted to do it.”
“I’ve watched it from the cliff, but no, I’ve never been out there,” admits Steve. “My mom said she couldn’t watch.”
The boys had recently tangled with a disgruntled tiger shark, and when it came to jumping off the ski and grabbing the rope, Steve’s brothers Justin and Eric (collectively they’re named after fallen Maui legends Justin Roberson, Eric Diaz and Steve Cooney), weren’t too keen on sitting alone in the deep blue water waiting for a wave.
“They didn’t want to be bait. But Stevie was into it. He really wanted to get a wave out there,” continues Kaleo. “He’s handled eight-foot Honolua, so this was kind of the next step.”
Capping at about 12 feet, with a cadre of water safety experts watching on, Kaleo whipped his son into a proper set wave.
“I made it to the bottom and it felt so good,” says Steve. “I got swallowed up by the whitewater at the very end, but I stuck my hand up in the air like my dad taught me and Uncle Kolomona was right there. When I opened my eyes, I was sitting on the back of the ski.”
“This day I’ll remember forever,” recounted Kolomona Fernandez on Instagram. “It was mid-day a ski approached the lineup with three passengers as they got closer I realized it was Kaleo Roberson and his two sons, they quickly threw out the rope and began towing, Baby Steve was first. He jumped in ready, grabbed the rope and was gone. Before you know it, Baby got a wave, then he fell as I got close to get em’. I looked baby Steve in his eye when I grabbed him after his wipeout, I could tell there was something a little different goin thru his head. This boy’s not only “special” he’s gifted, kind, smart and very, very respectful. I’m glad I was there to witness history. Proud of you Baby. Look out world there’s a new TITAN in town.”
If you’re the cynical type that thinks Steve’s wave was some kind of fluke or publicity stunt, you should reconsider. Last December, when he was nine years old, he paddled out at Waimea and rode some legit waves in the bay.
“It was fun out there with Uncle Makua and Uncle Nathan. They were helping me out and I got a couple good ones,” innocently says Baby.
“I don’t know, he just feels real comfortable in bigger surf. He was just spinning and going. He doesn’t seem to get too nervous, he just really enjoys it,” chuckles a proud Kaleo.
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