Huge Early Swell Hits Hawaii, Jaws Paddle Goes Off

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Wham, just like that, the big wave season is under way in Hawaii. A large groundswell brought monster surf to the north shores of the islands on Tuesday, and with light trade winds in effect it made for epic shorepound roulette on Oahu and phenomenal paddle sessions at Peahi, a.k.a. Jaws, off Maui.

In the photo above (and the two below), surf photographer Bernie Baker captured a bit of the craziness that comes with an early bump. He writes:

Everyone who surfs and lives on the North Shore of O`ahu has their own way of celebrating the first big winter swells that come roaring down from the Gulf of Alaska. Paddling out for that first session once it gets double overhead at your favorite spot, bodysurfing or bodyboarding the earliest close-out sets at Pipeline, or body-whomping beachbreaks.

Then there’s a crew in the neighborhood that searches out the most horrendous, bigger-than-tsunami shorepounds along the North Shore, playing a skillful form of dare. Getting right to the water’s edge when the biggest set waves collide with the out-going surge, the charging swells explode 40’ feet in the air, washing up and over the sand berm. It’s maelstrom of water, sand, and foam pummeling anyone and everything in its path half-way back up to the tree line. So far, all bodies are accounted for, beach towels, cameras and cell phones definitely NOT.

Meanwhile, over at Peahi, Shane Dorian caught a sequence of waves (see video, below) that are already tabbed for entry in the Billabong XXL contest, which supplied this nutso shot by Bruno Lemos.

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