The Holiday Sessions
When it comes to the crew of young, brash big-wave riders paddling into Jaws on a regular basis and pushing the performance level Albee Layer would have to be at the head of the class. The holiday sessions out there only solidified his standing.
Francisco Porcello & Ian Walsh
Ian Walsh has grown to be the face of the paddle movement at Jaws and is the mastermind behind the Red Bull Jaws contest. Instead of running, organizers opted to wait for another, larger swell later this winter.
Think JOB's only a Pipe surfer? Think again. He made this paddle session at Jaws look like a walk through the Ehukai Beach Park.
The Pipeline, Hawaii
No matter how the big-wave landscape evolves and pushes forward, one wave, more than any other, remains timeless. Pipeline in all of its glory.
DK Walsh has a lot to smile about lately. Just before Christmas, he saved his friend Greg Long's life out at Cortes Bank. He's also enjoying the perks of a big-wave career that appears to be really starting to take off.
Despite being relatively young in age, Kemper's been surfing Jaws for a long time. He cut his teeth towing as a teenager, but these days he gets in under -- and underneath -- with his own strength.
"Pop it! Pop it!" Carlos Burle gets his shoulder painfully put back in place after a violent trouncing.
Jumping in is the hardest thing. Located on the remote north shore of Maui, Jaws makes getting in and out of the water no easy feat. It's a commitment from beginning to end.
No more jerseys for this guy. After a fitful career on the World Tour, Dean Morrison is now a full-fledged swell chaser, which seems to be suiting him well.
Evan Valiere is a Kauai guy who's evolved into one of the best Pipeline surfers around. But ill-content with his recent run at the Pipe Masters, he went next level during the New Year's swell at Jaws.
An in-the-lineup view of Tyler Larronde's drop reveals the red cliffs in the background and a very large, and rather glassy, wall freight-training down the deep-water reef.
Uncle Derek on a bomb. When Pipeline reaches its potential, he paddles out and consistently gets the best waves, session after session, year after year.
Waimea Bay, Hawaii
The Bay didn't call the day this time around, but the days between Christmas and New Year's did see some quality surf. Unfortunately the biggest swell peaked overnight and the Eddie did not run.
Emily Erickson was an unknown on the big-wave scene until she caught this wave. Now it would seem everybody knows who she is ... and good on her for it.
His older brother Ian used to make him wash his Jet Ski and carry his boards. But DK Walsh is all grown up now and holds his own quite well.
Big, steep and relatively glassy: The key to a successful paddle session is the wind. If it stays light, the wave face stays smooth. Guys such as Albee Layer know this all too well.
California transplant turned Pipe hellman Beschen was on this swell, taking off on Second Reef bombs like this.
Before shipping off to Maui, O'Brien was up to his same old tricks at Pipe, pulling into thick, deep pits like this and making it look easy.
Ancient Hawaiian proverb: "Lineup clogged with humans is better than lineup clogged with Jet Skis."
John John Florence
Think John John's concerned about the start of the World Tour in February? Not in the slightest. The surf at home in Hawaii's been too good.
Randall Paulson spends days between swells in town, eating healthy, geeking out on yoga and living the good island life. But when he knows it's going to be good at Pipe, there's nowhere else you'll find him.
Chapman's family has charged Hawaii's biggest waves for generations, going back to his uncle Owl. Apparently nerves of steel are in the DNA.
The ever-classic Waimea drop. The Bay has stood the test of time and will continue to be a proving ground for years to come. Ian Masterson makes the most of this opportunity.
Mark Mathews put slabs like Ours and Shipsterns on the map, but he's also been surfing Jaws for a good number of years. Some guys will do anything for a thrill.
The circus is gone, the ASP has packed up and gone home, the local boys get their waves back and they're enjoying every minute of it.
O'Brien's gained a lot of experience in big waves over the last few years, becoming a regular at Waimea and Oahu's outer reefs. Jaws was a step up, but he handled it with his usual casualness.
Who is that masked man?
Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Unidentified, sliding in safely at Waimea.
It's not all fortune and glory. Offshore winds and 10-foot boards ensure there's always a price to be paid.
Ricardo Dos Santos
Dos Santos is no stranger to thick, scary waves like this. Some are regarding this as the wave of the swell, but he's a humble guy and shrugs stuff like that off. Regardless, he's one of Brazil's top tube riders.
The man who was born on 6/6/66 doing what he does best: going for broke. Ross Clarke-Jones, a hellman for the ages.