A Big Swell at Jaws

December 16, 2009

Photo Tips

What does every Maui photographer want for Christmas? A big swell at Jaws.

With faces as high as 50 feet, the world’s best tow-in surfers (so named because they’re towed out to the monster waves by Jetski) were out in force at Peahi on Maui, more commonly known as Jaws.

Maui photographer Zane Mathias has been going out to shoot the action for over twenty years, but waves this size only come in the winter months – and not very often. Mathia set out at 5:30 a.m., not for the light, but to escape the traffic jam of cars, trucks, ATVs and motorcycles all trying to get a peek at what has been dubbed the swell of a decade.

By the time the surfers arrived at 8:30 a.m., the light was just right. Mathias shot with a Nikon D300 and a 300 mm 2.8 on a Benbo tripod, which was perfect for the uneven ground. Then you wait, just like the surfers, for that perfect wave.

Photos by Zane Mathias



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This post was written by:

- who has written 3 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Terrie Eliker is a photographer, writer and graphic artist based on the island of Maui. She is also creator and creative director of the Maui Photo Festival & Workshops. http://www.mauiphotofestival.com or http://twitter.com/mauiphotofest

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3 Responses to “A Big Swell at Jaws”

  1. Andrea Westmoreland Says:

    Fantastic photos!!!


  2. darrin Says:

    I have been interested in these waves ever since as a kid Sports Illustrated ran an article on them. I don’t have the surfing ability, but the waves alone are incredible to me. Nice shot with the helicopter. Someday I hope to see them in person.


  3. Mike Says:

    Heading to Maui Dec 10 – 20 and hope mid Dec 2010 is a repeat of 2009!!


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