Surfers across the world eagerly await the winter months in Hawaii each year. This is when the north shores of Maui and Oahu get their biggest swells caused by ocean storms hundreds of miles away in the Pacific. With the waves come a surge of pro surfers, media and enthusiastic fans hoping to witness some of world’s biggest and best waves.
Even if an official competition is not taking place while you are visiting, keep your eye on the surf. If the waves are big, there will no doubt be plenty of opportunistic and brave surfers out there and it’s a thrill to see.
Below are two great Maui winter wave season surf contests. They are free to watch so stake out your place early and prepare to be amazed!
Hawaii Women’s Pro
Where: Honolua Bay, Maui
Holding period: November 25 – December 6
Defending champion: Stephanie Gilmore (Australia)
The lowdown: The final event of the year in WSL pro female surfing is also often the competition determining which pro has accumulated the most points for the year to win the overall women’s World Title.
Peahi Challenge/Women’s Peahi Challenge
Where: Peahi, Haiku, Maui
Holding period: October 1 – March 15
Defending male champion: Ian Walsh (Hawaii)
Defending female champion: Paige Alms (Hawaii)
The lowdown: The Peahi surf break on Maui’s north shore is also known by the moniker Jaws. The name is instantly explained upon catching your first glimpse of Peahi Challenge surfers being swallowed by winter waves sometimes scaling face heights of more than 60 feet. Competition at both contests kicks off only when waves are consistently massive, with minimum 40-foot faces.