The legends of Jaws, the world’s biggest wave

Big wave beasts Jason Polakow and Robby Naish look back at the awe-inspiring surf break.
By Josh Sampiero

There's no such thing as 'the biggest wave in the world'. That designation changes every swell, every season, with every set as ocean winds and current push surf to different corners of the planet.

But there are a few spots that are meccas of big-wave surfing. Two of those spots are in the islands of Hawaii – Oahu's Waimea Bay and Maui's JAWS.

Unlike Waimea – which breaks in full view of the Kamehameha Hawaii on Oahu's North Shore, and has been surfed since the 70s, JAWS was a relative secret until the mid-90s. Rumours circulated in the windsurfing community about a massive wave, a few miles upwind from the world-famous Ho'okipa Beach Park. It broke onto rocks and cliffs, and was essentially accessible only from the water.

So far, the winter of 2013/2014 has been an epic year for big-wave surfing, with massive swells slamming into the European coast, Northern California, and the Hawaiian Islands. With that in mind, it's time to get an inside view on one of the greatest big waves around.

Windsurfers Josh Angulo and Dave Kalama were among the first to sail up to the then unknown break. After their session, news among the windsurfing elite spread quickly. Robby Naish and Jason Polakow, both champion windsurfers, were soon on the scene.

Robby Naish and Jason Polakow
Robby Naish and Jason Polakow © Erik Aeder/Red Bull Content Pool

Both Robby Naish and Jason Polakow became known as some of the best JAWS riders there were – Jason for his fearlessness in attacking the lip, Robby for his stylish lines on the massive wave face.

In the video above, they recall some of their most thrilling – and scariest, moments on the famous wave.

Need more JAWS? Check out our photo gallery here.

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