through security. Huff. Puff. You made it. Shane’s just arrived, too. He’s with his 9-year-old son, Jackson, and he’s pretty sure he has time for a coffee.
“THIS IS JAWS!” Jackson narrates our arrival as we bounce down the narrow, red dirt road to Peahi. “We’re finally here, for the first time ever. Oh my god, I’m going to be scared to death! Ohhhhhhh-my-God. This is gonna be scary!” He speaks in first person but his sing-songy tone suggests his words are aimed at Seth. Like, You should be really scared; I’ll be just fine on the beach.
Shane and Seth exit the car and reach the cliff’s edge just as a mutant A-frame unloads on the reef. Barefoot Jackson climbs a tree for a better view. Shane glances at Seth from the corner of his eye.
“How you feeling?” he asks.
“I’m pretty nervous, but psyched at the same time,” Seth says. It’s probably the fifth time today he’s voiced his mixed emotions. “It’s a lot to take in. I always watch it online but now it’s real. What do you think, it’s 20 feet or so? It’s hard to tell from up here.”
“It’s 20 feet for sure,” Shane confirms. “It looks good though. I’ll be interested to hear what you say after. Your first time always makes a big impact on you. It did for me.”
Like most firsts, things move fast from here. Clothes off. Wetsuits, flotation vests, sunscreen, wax and leashes all on. Fins, however, stay off. Shane and Seth each stuff four fins in their suits and descend the cliff with 10-foot skimboards. A @kookoftheday post waiting to happen. But as Shane explains, the entrance to Jaws is shallow and rocky, and a busted fin box is no way to start a harrowing session. After a few minutes catching up with the Maui crew at the base of the cliff, Shane and Seth wait for their window and scramble down the slippery, basketball-sized boulders and into the sea, maneuvering without rudders through a couple of waves before making it to deep water. They stroke out to sea side by side, moments away from learning whether this whole trip will be a pleasant surprise, or an ugly one.
IT’S BEEN ALMOST TWO HOURS AND SETH HASN’T CAUGHT A WAVE. Shane, however, just got what could easily be the ride of the year. He took off deep from the North Peak on what looked like a closeout, pulled in, held his line through a