Opening Ceremony for Red Bull Paddle at Peahi

Invitees and alternates gather on Maui to kick off inaugural event

| posted on December 11, 2012

Invitees and alternates gathered on Maui for the Red Bull Jaws Paddle at Peahi opening ceremony. Photo: Noyle

Twenty-one invitees and 14 alternates for the Red Bull Jaws big-wave paddle event recently gathered along a bluff overlooking Jaws for the event’s inaugural opening ceremony. Adorned in traditional Hawaiian kihei (a ceremonial cloak) the surfers participated in a traditional Hawaiian blessing that stressed stewardship of the land and respect for the ocean.

“You come with permission,” Kupuna Leslie Kuloloio told the surfers. “But don’t forget, the ocean comes first. You come second. Hawaiians are voyagers—the family of the sea. There is no ownership of the sea, only stewardship. We enter humbly and we have the kuleana, or responsibility, to care for it.”

As the contest director for the event, big-wave legend Mike Parsons emphasized the importance of respect and spirituality that’s at the heart of this contest. “This blessing and calling upon the ocean is something that has been passed down for generations in Hawaii,” said Parsons. “Surfers are connected to the ocean and to have that blessing is something you contemplate before you even put that first foot in the water. Without that blessing, this isn’t possible.”

The 2012-’13 winter will mark the first time the Red Bull Jaws Paddle at Peahi will be held. In line with the recent strides made in big-wave paddle surfing, the one-day, paddle-only event will only run between now and March 15, 2013 if conditions reach 30- to 50-foot faces.

The holding period for the first big-wave paddle event at Jaws began with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Photo: Noyle

Kelly Slater, along with 20 other elite big-wave surfers, participated in the opening ceremony. Photo: Noyle

  • Adam

    So what if the Eddie runs the same day as this comp? Since the invitees to each are nearly identical they are going to have to pick between one. Did Red Bull or Ian Walsh (who created this event and is an Eddie Invitee) even think of this? Can anyone clear this up?

  • Alex

    My understanding is that the contest organizers from m each event will be in contact and have agreed not to run both events on the same day. Also, people tell me that each spot needs diffrent conitions to meet each events criteria, so when it’s good for the Eddy, it will not be good for the Jaws invite, and visa-versa.

  • JJ

    Adam, Great Point, there are some foreseeable problems for sure.

    In addition its a shame that the few underground guys, almost exclusively Brazilians, not that it matters to me, although it did to Red Bull or whoever is responsible for creating the invitee list, are not invited. They had been paddling the left at Peahi for years before most of these guys. That is common knowledge in big wave paddling circles in Hawaii.

    I hope a solid swell comes and Uncle George calls the Eddie on and Red Bull does too, have fun with that one.

  • Jeff Mull

    As I understand, the events will not run concurrently and the Jaws event will give way to the Eddie if they’re both fortunate enough to get the right swell at the same time. Although not always true, the swells that are needed to run the Eddie are often a different direction than what causes Jaws to break. You can check out this post for more details:

  • JJ

    Aloha Alex & Jeff
    Thanks for the heads up.
    I guess in the end, they can’t invite everyone right?

  • Adam

    Thanks for following up!

  • moxie

    Where’s Bruce?

  • surfergirl_1979
  • Whamo

    Maui no ka hoi.

  • zeno malan

    With enough helicopters available each contestant could compete in both the Eddie and Jaws events with no problem.

    Hell – with look-out helicopters they could drop them right on the mackers of each approaching set! What fun!

    What’s the hold-up with helicopter owners ponying up?

  • Pietro Porcella

    Look up for FRANCISCO PORCELLA n.1 alternate, born in New York, grew up in beautiful Sardinia, Italy before moving to Maui to become one of the most respected riders in Jaws.

  • Brent

    Helpful information. Fortunate me I found your site accidentally, and I’m stunned why this twist of fate did not came about in advance! I bookmarked it.