F–ken Heavy?

posted by / Blogs / January 31, 2012

If this wave were photographed from the water, would it still be a world record? (Probably.) Shane Dorian, Jaws. Photo: Bruno Lemos
If this wave were photographed from the water, would it still be a world record? (Probably.) Shane Dorian, Jaws. Photo: Bruno Lemos


Baby Take It Off!

Pe’ahi, or Jaws, is a very famous big wave that breaks off Maui’s rocky shore. It is so famous that even non-surfers know it by name (its English name). They say, while standing in the checkout line at Iowa City’s Hy-Vee grocery store, “My gosh, the whole family was recently in Maui for Grannie Jo-Jo’s 75th and we went to see the Jaws. And, wow, it is so big! Uncle Don said he would get a surfboard and paddle out if Uncle Franklin took hula lessons and just had everyone in stitches. Put a drink in that man and he’ll say anything!” The tourists know Jaws exits because of Uncle Laird Hamilton. They watched him surf it, this giant monster, this watery beast, on American Express commercials and they delight in the spectacle.

Surfers delight the spectacle too, and possibly more so. They cheer as brave souls paddle into heaving bombs. They forward YouTube clips of the big days to their surfing colleagues at work and write “F–ken heavey!” in the body of their emails. (Surfers, generally, have poor spelling). They would vote for Jaws waves at Surfer Poll and the XXL Awards if these shows included fan voting. They open magazines and stare at pictures and feel overwhelmed. Jaws has a life of its own. It is bigger than life.

But what if it is, in reality, a little bit smaller? A little bit weaker? A little bit like the bigger-than-all-his-peers four year old who cries easily and often and eats too much mac and cheese? A famous and good man who lives on Oahu’s North Shore called me yesterday as I sat in Beverly Hills traffic and said, “You never see a shot of Jaws from the water. You always see it from the f–ken cliff. But you never see it from the f–ken water. There are water photographers out there but you never see their f–ken shots. Why do you think that is? It’s because the water shots would show what kind of wave it really is.” And I thought, “You know, I don’t remember ever actually seeing a water shot of Jaws. The famous man is right!” And so I called a well-known and good photographer and he said, “Yes. Anything shot looking down, from a cliff, will always look bigger. Jaws doesn’t look nearly as big when shot from the water.”

Well wow. Is Jaws all style no substance? Is Jaws the oceanic version of Chas Smith? Yesterday, in Beverly Hills, I was shopping for jewelry at Solange Azagury-Partridge. A gorgeous store with enamel-dipped white gold. Very chic. Very now.


[Editor’s note: Oh, Chas…]

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  • Stevie

    Too bad no one’s ever had a photo of Jaws from the water. http://www.surfermag.com/photos/pacific-gauntlet/#ca89d25772
    Still looks pretty big to me.

  • antony g. gallegos

    ron reagan should have been hung for treason. cant understand why people respect him worst president ever!

  • albee layer

    your fucken retarded

  • yeah guy

    please… no one discuss, there is nothing here to discuss… move on.

  • Mik

    you got the Reagan part right: Fraud. worse: asshole who fucked over CA first, put hundreds of lost mental cases on the street, and created the first big $ bank scandal by deregulating savings and loans, and then did nothing for the country as President, while enabling the murders on hundreds of thousands of South Americans, while enabling drug runners to make deals with the USA military. yeah, Reagan. fraud. asshole. babbling mental case at exit. which means your photographer friend is wrong: Jaws is like George Washington. the real deal. the goods. worthy of our respect. larger than life.

  • why?

    ur out of ur mind. looks twice as scary from the water.

  • Nick Carroll

    what the hell do you mean Chas, there is no traffic in Beverly Hills.

  • albee layer

    you gain a bit of height from the cliff but you loose twice is much of the thickness the wave has. its a slab

  • Stupid

    I suggest putting the author of this in the water at Jaws on the next big swell that hit there. Then he will shut up and maybe write something that can actually have anything but a one sided discussion

  • 23 Chips

    The Chips has a deal for The Chas.

    Chips will take water shots of Jaws if Chas will swim into the impact zone to take a 30 foot set on the head from this mushburger. The world can judge how soft the wave (and you) are from the evidence. Chips can be there waiting at the next swell.

    23 Chips

  • Chas II

    it’s better to be impulsive than cautious: fortune is female and if you want to stay on top of her you have to slap and thrust. You’ll see she’s more likely to yield that way than to men who go about her coldly. And being woman she likes her men young, because they’re not so cagey, they’re wilder and more daring when they master her.

    Chas II

  • Seamus

    Listen to the guys who surf it… not wanks who write about it (poorly).

  • Aaron Gold

    You can talk all you want. Reality is, talk and pictures mean nothing. Experiencing is everything. Mud fest, cliff climb, boulder dance, 60′ footer on the head, three wave hold down (with vest),board in the rocks, boulder dance, cliff climb, mud fest-back up board, cliff climb, boulder dance, Rode one, attempt one, 2 wave hold down bottom bounce, last guy in water, bolder dance, climb cliff. Thank Jesus

    Simply put, “Jaws is Animal ! ”

    I have an extra board if anyone is so inclined to join us.

  • Aaron Gold

    props to the boys.

  • ChasSmithMakesMePuke

    Chas can’t surf Salt Creek mushers let alone say such an obnoxious thing. You guys ever see or hear him write about surfing? No. He just pretends. He likes to get his nails done nad dote on blonde young surfer boys. That’s why he thinks he’s a surfer. anyone who likes his writing is as much a poser as he is.

  • Mike Anderson

    Well well I don’t see any body looking to borrow Aaron’s x tra board?

  • Nick Nehamas

    great picture! check out our story on surfing huge waves in borneo: http://www.latitudenews.com/story/surfing-borneos-tidal-waves/

  • 1FromTheCheapSeats

    @ ChasMakesMe and i quote, “… nad dote on blonde young surfer boys”.
    when a typo really isn’t a typo ….