Red Bull Jaws: Paddle at Pe'ahi, officially closed its 2012-'13 holding period last Friday.
A paddle-in big wave surfing competition inaugurated on the Hawaiian island of Maui on December 7, 2012, the one-day invitational event was reserved for waves in the range of 30 to 50 feet combined with light to no winds.
Ultimately, waves of this magnitude, along with the proper weather conditions, did not materialize during the designated holding period and Red Bull Jaws: Paddle at Pe'ahi did not run. Organizers are currently exploring options to expand the holding period for the 2013-'14 season.
Regarded as the most consistent focal point for giant surf during northern hemisphere winters, Hawaii dominates the big wave scene from December through March, with Jaws being home to the largest rideable waves of all. But all huge waves are dependent upon the source: intense winter storm systems that originate in the northwest Pacific. The ferocity, duration and directional path of these winter storms determine the quality and size of waves that ultimately hit the northern shores of the Hawaiian Islands.
"It pays off to be patient and not force the event. I'm glad it wasn't called on. All the calls the contest organizers made were spot on." -- Ian Walsh
Some years, fueled by phenomenon like El Niño weather patterns, the intensity and frequency of these swells peak. That was not the case this winter, which will go down in the books as a La Niña winter -- a year with suppressed storm development.
Twenty-one invitees remained ready to activate throughout the three-month holding period of Red Bull Jaws. With the window now closed, and the Hawaiian winter behind them, their focus will now shift to other surf zones.
"Attention shifts down below the equator now," said Ian Walsh, Red Bull Jaws creator and invitee. "We probably have another week or two we can milk it in Hawaii and then Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Fiji, and Tahiti become a big hit on the radar for me that I'll be paying close attention to."
Regarding the closing of the Red Bull Jaws holding period, Walsh said, "It pays off to be patient and not force the event. I'm glad it wasn't called on. All the calls the contest organizers made were spot on. A lot of the days we were watching potential swells on the charts panned out to be really mediocre in actuality. Hopefully next winter offers more opportunities to tune in our equipment, get time in at the break, and get to run."
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