Jaws, Maui, Hawaii
On Jan. 19,a large Northwest swell hit the Northern shore of Maui, where the infamous big-wave break Jaws roared to life. A cadre of hard charging surfers, including Aaron Gold pictured here, were on hand to not only tempt fate, but raise the performance
Local boy Albee Layer has Jaws on lock. He knows where to be on the wave at all times, and it shows in his casual approach. He's hands down one of the best out there today.
Maui's known as the Valley Isle for a reason. From the highest peaks to the biggest swells, it's a place of great verticality, which guys like Makua Rothman take full advantage of.
Yuri Soledad has quietly been paddling Jaws for years. He doesn't get the credit he deserves ... but he does get the waves.
The morning commute at Jaws.
It used to be that surviving Jaws was enough, but these days the talent level's gone through the roof and style is everything. Dege O'Connell breezed through this beast, making it look way too easy.
The surf at Jaws was just big enough to be scary, but not so big as to keep most folks relegated to the shoreline, which made the lineup a busy place.
The Peanut Gallery
"There sure were some big breakers out there today, honey." Stadium seating for the tourists from Omaha trying to beat the winter cold.
Nathan Fletcher is a new father (he named his kid Lazer Zappa), and while parenthood does occasionally cause big-wave riders reason to reconsider, he remains at the pinnacle of the pursuit.
Zeke Lau's had a solid winter. First there was his breakout performance at the Triple Crown, where he won the Sunset contest, and now he's right in the mix at Jaws. Expect more big things from him in 2014.
Don't let his brother's stardom steal the spotlight, Nate Florence is brimming with talent. From his backyard at Pipe to the innards of Jaws, his heavy-water chops are strong.
Koa Rothman's one of the premier up and coming big-wave surfers in Hawaii. It's only a matter of time before he catches something twice the size of this bowl.
While everybody made it back to shore safe and sound, there were a few fiberglass casualties.
What's that saying about taking a knife to a gunfight? By the end of the day Jamie O'Brien got bored riding his conventional big-wave stiletto and opted to take out a soft-top he picked up at Costco.
To wax philosophical, if a big wave breaks and Garrett McNamara isn't there to ride it does it really break? Dumb question. He's always on it.
The Boys Are Back
Normally the north shore of Maui is a quiet place, but when Jaws roars the boys come to town. Left to right: Zeke Lau, Matt Meola, Billy Kemper, Mark Healey
Former Billabong XXL Award winner Danilo Couto picked off a big one. Moving from Brazil to Maui just to surf the Jaws, he doesn't miss many opportunities.
To give the wave some perspective, "Big" Ben Wilkinson, who's taking off deepest, stands about 6'4". An ox of a man, he builds furniture to support himself, which allows him to drop his tools and hit it anytime the swell looks large enough.