Maui waterman hurt while surfing Jaws
PEAHI, Maui — Renowned Maui waterman Archie Kalepa was injured Monday during a monster surf session at Jaws off Maui’s northeastern coast.
Kalepa seriously injured his left knee when he was slammed by a 40-foot wave while tow-in surfing with partner Buzzy Kerbox.
“I was too deep, too far behind the peak, and there was no place for me to go,” said Kalepa, who also is the county’s ocean safety supervisor. “It broke in front of me and I tried to outrun it as much as I could but the whitewater caught up with me.”
He said 25 tow-in pairs were jostling for waves as high as 50 feet.
“It definitely was the biggest we’ve had in the last four years. There were a lot of new guys out there and guys from back in the old days, when if we had five (personal watercraft) out there, that was a crowd,” Kalepa said.
Tow-in surfing, in which a surfer is pulled into large, fast waves by a personal watercraft, was pioneered at Jaws in the early 1990s by Kerbox, Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Darrick Doerner and other members of “Strapped Crew,” named because of the foot straps on their boards.
Only the largest winter storm swells approaching from a certain direction generate extreme surf at the deep-water break. Although the sport has spread to other big-wave spots around the world, Jaws remains renowned for its clean, well-formed tubes.