Jaws Invitational

Red Bull to host new big-wave paddle-in contest this winter

| posted on November 16, 2012

Ian Walsh, a familiar face at Maui's favorite big-wave spot. Photo: Aeder

SURFER has learned that a new Eddie-style paddle-in contest will be held this winter on Maui at Jaws. The event, hosted by Red Bull, will feature 21 invite-only surfers and will have a waiting period that will run from December 7 to March 15.

For weeks, rumors of the event have been swirling, but until today Red Bull had yet to officially confirm the event. Late yesterday, John John Florence and other surfers began sharing images of their invitee box to the event on Instagram.

According to an event spokesperson, a microsite page on will evolve over time to reveal which competitors will be competing in the event. “As each athlete confirms his invite, their page will go live on the event’s website. Once all the competitors’ photos change from blank question marks to real photos/bios, the official list will be revealed.

When asked about the athlete selection criteria, Red Bull provided the following: “Red Bull’s panel of big-wave experts selected competitors based on recent performances in waves of comparable magnitude to Jaws; a demonstrated willingness to amplify the level of big wave surfing; and career experience in riding big waves both freely and competitively,” said a Red Bull spokesperson. “This progressive troupe of surfers is charged with forging a path for Red Bull big-wave riders of the future.”

Big-wave surfing legend Mike Parsons will be working as the contest director for the event.

The prize purse for the event is still unknown. Additionally, it’s been said that Quiksilver’s Eddie event and Red Bull’s Jaws event will not be run at the same time.

The move to hold a new paddle-in only contest speaks to a larger trend in big-wave surfing. Over the course of that past few years, the upper-echelon of big-wave surfers have begun shunning the Jet Ski in favor of paddling into waves with the power of their own two arms.

When the event runs, it will be streamed live through a specialty page on and will also air as a one-hour special on Red Bull’s Signature Series on NBC on June 9.

John John Florence recently posted this shot of his invitee box for the Red Bull paddle event at Jaws.

  • Steve Wimer

    Mark Foo would go.

  • bg

    Thank the lord this contest is not anyway related to the kooks at the big wave world tour, i think it makes the contest seem more appealing~

  • spock

    Do you think athletes like Shane Dorian, Kelly Slater or even Laird Hamilton drink “Red Bull”?

    Hell no!

    Red Bull and all so called “energy drinks” should have no place in surfing. Its a terrible product that will probably be ilegal in 2 years.

    Surfers and athletes should be ashamed to be associated with these horrible “energy drinks”.

    Surfing is the new Nascar.

  • zz


    You really think Shane Dorian doesn’t drink energy drinks, he is sponsored by Monster. People know the risks of smoking yet they still do it. Why does Uncle Sam need to regulate it. Red Bull provides plenty of opportunity and coverage for the sport of surfing.

  • Andrew A

    An energy drink company has just come in and stated, If jaws is solid or epic,, (during a majority of the season it will have the potential to produce). You’ll have to go through us to surf it.
    Contests are a joke. It is the antithesis of surfing. Timed heats? points? scores? Winners? losers? Invites Only? Nothing to do with nature, or enjoyment.
    Anyone with the skills and balls to surf this spot have the right whenever they are able to. Its not for some external corporation to decide. Its bad enough people get charged an arm and a leg just to get anywhere and bring some equipment.
    if you want to have a comp fine. Structure it like the wave of the winter/summer thing . No singlets, no trophy ceremony bull.. Best wave takes it all. Youll still get all your footage for surfline specials i promise. This whole thing just seems completely ridiculous
    Peace and love.

  • spock


    i think they should make all the guys in the “red bull” invitational down a six pack before their heats.

    it works great for holding your breath right?

    i don’t think uncle sam should regulate it to tell you the truth i think they should
    legalize all drugs and have a “crystal meth invitational” (oh wait didn’t they already have that one)

  • kooks???

    bg is a kook…
    and spock aint nothin wrong w/ NASCAR… hell id rather b gettin drunk w/ a bunch rednecks than sittin on the beach w/a bunch of hipster surfers anyday of the week!!! regardless of this drama… ANDREW A has a very good point regardin bigwave events!

  • Foo

    I agree that if you have the guts to make the paddle out no one should kick you out of the lineup at Jaws for contest reasons.

  • nsb

    this contest is stupid jaws is to big a space guys go out hoping to get 2 or 3 waves over 3 hour sessions and the window to paddle in is small it only happens a few times a year and if they think they can come in with a huge group of pro surfers and kik all us maui boys out their going to have a shock this is how underground maui guys r making a name for themselves and we wait all year for the swells this should get shut down .

    ps if u do thro the event u need to invite all the maui boys or your prob going to have problems there is already a lot of shit talking going on the north shore

  • matty

    This “contest” is BS. Redbull is lame, they have no right to make Peahi even more of a circus than it already is. If any one of these athletes drank a redbull then paddled out, their heart would beat out of control, focus would be off and the consequences could be fatal.

  • Jo

    They should make it a day- long heat. Review performances at sunset. Contests are alright sometimes.

  • Wangdu

    I don’t drink Red Bull but I’m stoked on what they’re doing to help athletes push the envelope in Surfing and all other sports. I just hope they invite enough Maui guys to the event and use Maui production crew.

  • Ciaran

    So nsb, let me get this right, they can have a competition, but only if they invite the local thugs, otherwise there will be blood….

  • Bad boy bubby


  • jeff

    John John Florence???? Are you kidding me, yes he is one is of the best surfers in the world but he hasn’t paid his dues in the big wave world. This proves the contest is a publicity joke. There are guus who have surfed Jaws for yesrs are would never be included.

  • clowns

    @NSB.. if you think you should be in that comp then what is your name? you cant even spell..

  • ur dumb

    You should be happy that non-endemic brands want to spend money in a sport where you ride water on foam/ fiberglass. But your right, I’m sure the Pres of RB, who probably doesn’t know any surfers, hand picked them all for this event. There is clearly a panel who chose. Pull your heads out of your asses and be happy to watch this live. Hawaiians think they deserve everything…

  • mike

    To all of you with your lame comments, it is not about Hawaiian vs ?????? it is about giving a shot to the few who have dedicated their lives to surfing Jaws.

    The place is unlike any other and I would challenge anyone to just make it through the shorebreak. Good luck but there are a handfull of regulars that surf it on every swell and they are the true heros of the place because they risk their lives to challenge the worst mother nature has to offer.

    Keep your lame “Hawaiian localism” comments to yourself because a few of the regulars that I am talking about are Brazilian, Argentinian, French, and caucasian.

    So lets hear some fair replies to this message and show me how some of these surfers don’t deserve a shot over a few of the invitees.


    Whatchu fakas!

    Come to Maui and talk shit. Cruise down to Pavils and see wassup…

  • David Nelson

    I’m drinking a Red Bull right now…

  • Clowns

    @NSB.. Say your name if you think you should be in it… you can talk about all the maui boys, when you cant even say who you are? and that they are gonna stop it if they are not in it. Its dip shits like you who keep giving the people who live in Hawaii a bad name.. To me it seems like your ego is bigger than a wave you will ever get…

  • manta

    And so the politics starts again .How about the first guy ever to paddle into Jaws get a invite -No ? Becuase he isnt sponsored or a “Big Name” yet he has done more charging than most of the invites. what a croc

  • Dang3rtown

    One of the things I love most about surfing, even pro surfing, is its accessibility. By its very nature, you can’t put pro surfing in a stadium. Because of that, there isn’t the separation between pro surfers and the general public like there is in other pro sports. I think we are starting to see an increase in “exclusive” events where the best swells at the best spots go to the pros to the big money sponsors. Peahi is not Agusta National. It is not just for the Pros on the best day with the best conditions. It is ours and while I think the money and exposure is cool, the way they’re doing it is not. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you can buy access to a surf spot at the exclusion of others. What has Red Bull really done for surfing? They give money to pros so they can surf more, they give out a bunch of skis, they probably even do some charity work but what does that matter? Why do they get to buy the ocean?

  • DBA

    It’s a shame that Marcio Freire and Yan Soledad, the first guys to paddle surf big Jaws, have not been invited. Not sure if it is the Brazilian bias or what but they have been surfing it for the love, without cameras or $$. Maui boys have been left out the list. Not sure if it will happen but if it does some people will be really bummed to have to watch from the shore.

  • The Mom of Kuau Mart

    I had not known this side of the surfing community. It really upset me. The surfers I knew were respectful and took care of each other I hope that these negative comments are not from someone who was born here or from my boys from the store. These negative feelings are not pono for our land, ocean and people.
    This event is a wish of one of our own boys. He worked very hard and long to get the approval to use the property.
    By the way Red Bull is helping our children from Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Language)
    The first surfers to paddle into Jaws In 1992 was Johnny V and Roy Patterson. They are humbled by the invitation and pleased to see this event finally in place………..

  • Leona Nomura

    I have been so upset with all your negative comments. This is so not the surfing community that I am proud to have known from 1992 when our store opened. Sure you were kolohe but I admired your respect and especially how you all took care of each other. If anyone understood the Hawaiian culture it was you the surfer. Your connection to the ocean connects you to the land, the heavens and the people. Do you have any idea how lucky you are to be a surfer? You do not pay to go in the water to surf. Be thankful for the oppertunity that is coming to Maui. Give the Respect and be Pono.

    There was a shaper named Johnny V who was the first to ride Jaws after paddling in with Roy Paterson in 1992.
    Kuau Mart

  • Leona Nomura

    Names of who actually paddled out to Jaws first was really John Roberson, John Lemis, John Potterick, They had no leashes at the time and wiped out. John Roberson actually named Jaws. Probably the really first big wave rider was Gary Day. Gary is deceased… But then Barney Waiateka’s name comes up. These are the riders of the 70s. So these are the pioneers of Jaws. I’m still working on who. The stories I’ve heard are priceless.What it all comes down to…. if you rode it JAWS you got the respect . May not have the right spelling on the names…………………………….. Be Pono

    Mom of Kuau Mart

  • Jason Smith

    Guys I am looking to find out if they sell event shirts for JAWS red bull event. Any ifo you might have on where I can get a event shirt or know the contact info for someone I can get in touch with would be much appreciated!!

  • http://freemaui thomas m

    Red bull u r lame. Walsh u r lame if you are in any way responsible or connected to the closure of peahi to the public. Guys train their whole lives to ride a few swells there and risk there lives doing it. What do you need to prove? Having a contest and ruining wat jaws really stands for is your idea of progress? Disrespect the locals and invite a bunch of donkeys to die and put a price tag on access whether owning the media coverage or limiting acces to wat has always been accesible. I dont give a shit if ur pro or famous if you dont have the drive to come maui and b respectful and humble and share with the locals. Yea thats right i called the pro surfers donkeys because thats wat u are if u come to hawaii and participate in any way to the continued destruction of home of surfing by corporate greed. Honolua and lipoa pt are already out of preservation if u truly care about the real hawaii and the true sport of kings than put ur efforts into saving wat we have not exploiting the few remaining jems. If i trained my life to surf jaws and some clown from redbull told me i couldnt surf there it would be extremely disheartening to know that a maui boy was behind it. Then again if some guys drown it might be a great lesson to corporate amerca and pro surfing in general that big money has no place in this sport for the true waterman. Thanks for taking peahi from a roots public true test of watermen to a friggin showboaters exclusive. I heard even the local photogs like mike neal cant shoot the contest when these guys are also centering theirlives on the access u so rudely took away. Thanks for reinforcing the real meaning of ha’ole. Are u breathing cuz ur definately not thinking

  • Aybee

    Surfing is turning into a well-respected sport now and the surfers work extremely hard to become the best at what they do. A surf contest is just like any other competitive game or contest you enter. Don’t think about any money RedBull is making from advertising or blahblahblah because advertising has taken over the world and there’s nothing we can do about it. So instead of getting all lolo try and just appreciate that these guys are brave enough to charge JAWS and it is a limited few. Let’s enjoy what God created, it’s not like theyre destroying the land in any way shape or form. So grab an early seat and enjoy the contest!


    Superb job, all the best.

  • Windy

    Why people still make use of to read news papers when
    in this technological globe the whole thing is accessible on net?