Red Bull announces new big wave surf invitational on Maui

© Fred Pompermayer
© Fred Pompermayer

PEAHI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Another invitation only, big wave surf tournament is heading to Hawaii.

This winter, twenty one surfers from around the world will head to Maui's North Shore for the inaugural RED BULL JAWS: Paddle at Pe'ahi surfing tournament.

Held at the surf break known as Jaws, the holding period for the invitational runs from December 7 to March 15, 2013. The event will be held on the first "ideal" day during that span when "wave face heights are between 30 and 50 feet," according to Red Bull.

An official ceremony will open the tournament on December 7, 2012.

Red Bull says Maui big-wave surfer Ian Walsh was instrumental in the creation of the tournament

"Once we started paddling Jaws, the idea for the event slowly started to form," said surfer Ian Walsh. "I was just imagining what it could do for the level of riding big waves, and it seemed like over the last few years there's a really substantial swell somewhere around the world that resets the bar and progression of what guys are capable of doing in big waves."

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, popularly known among surfers and local residents as "The Eddie" and perhaps the father of all big wave surf competitions, runs concurrently with the Red Bull Jaws invitational for most of the winter holding season, but organizers say the overlap shouldn't be an issue.

"While the event period for RED BULL JAWS coincides with The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau event on Oahu, organizers for each event are in communication and will ensure there will not be any conflict."

Walsh says despite the fact that surfers only recently began paddling into the surf at Jaws, the speed and power the break at Pe'ahi provides makes it ideal for this type of tournament.

"It seems like now is the right time for a contest like this," said Walsh.

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