Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Access to Jaws Surf Break at Peahi

Every winter the North Pacific ocean brews large storms that create huge swells.  Many of the swells eventually reach Maui's north shore and the underwater topography in certain places along the coast create huge waves.  The biggest waves typically occur near Peahi which is also known as Jaws. 

For decades, Jaws was a place only locals familiar with big wave surfing knew how to access.  However, Peahi's popularity has increased significantly and every year when the wave "fires off," the parking lot is overflowing with dozens of cars and scores of people. 

Despite the number of people, you should be aware that there is no public access to Jaws.  The road through the jungle to the most popular viewing area is privately owned by Alexander and Baldwin.  The company has generally been a very generous neighbor by not making too many attempts to shut off access to the unmaintained dirt road.  The company recently even cooperated with Red Bull and the County of Maui with plans to organize a big-wave surfing contest. 

If you visit Peahi to watch big-wave surfing, please be careful and be considerate.   The drive from the Hana Highway to the viewing area can easily take an hour due to traffic on the one-lane road that is packed with trucks, motorcycles, dogs and tourists.

Remember that, as with many places on Maui, you are a guest on privately owned land.  Car accidents and injuries are not uncommon due to poor driving conditions and large numbers of people.  Also, if you park irresponsibly along the Hana Highway, you should expect a parking ticket.  Maui Police Department does patrol the area.  

Photo of Jaws by Maui Legal Team Investigator