Jaws, Maui, December 9, 2015—Three days following the Peahi Challenge—the first-ever contest at Jaws—the swell was still pumping on the North Shore with 30-foot plus faces and 15-25 knots of side shore winds—perfect for a day of Kitesurfing. Jesse Richman and the rest of the Team Naish crew headed out with a squad of filmers, photographers and a helicopter ready to capture another heavy day of surfing. Jesse took his Naish Pivot and headed out with the main objective of getting the biggest barrel of his life and he did just that—making history as the first person to ever successfully get barreled while kitesurfing at Jaws. We caught up with Jesse to see how this day at Peahi played out; below is his recount from a day he’ll never forget.
Jesse: There is so much that goes into one moment in the ocean. At Peahi aka “Jaws” it takes years of experience and countless hours of gear prep to make the magic moment possible. What I have found to be one of the biggest aspects to a successful season out there is visualizing exactly what I want to do days before the swell: figuring out my move way before I touch the water and really thinking about how I want to ride the wave so that when I’m finally out there I know exactly what I want to do without having to think about it. Then, the biggest thing is being flexible enough to improvise in the moment and know that what ever happens will happen, it’s all good… Sometimes the jet ski will break before we even get out there, or the wind will die just as I’m pumping up the kite or there will be a piece of chop that bounces me off my board and the lip will land on my head…. Anything can go down out there. When the sh*t hits the fan, I hold onto the fact that it’s all good experience and I’m lucky and stoked that I have the opportunity to be out there and enjoy the ride.
Jesse: Getting barreled at Jaws is the ultimate thrill; without a doubt, it’s the coolest thing I could ever think of. Growing up on Maui, it’s been a dream of mine for years and this winter I knew I was going to achieve that goal or go down trying. The first big swell at Jaws this year (October 28th drone video https://vimeo.com/143941687) I saw the opportunity and I went for it; I pulled into my first Jaws barrel and got the sickest vision ever. Even though I didn’t make it out, it was very radical and I was even more determined for the next session.
Thinking about that moment for the weeks to follow, I knew exactly what I had to do on the next swell. After much anticipation, it finally came. Wednesday, December 9th was a historical day for me. The waves were pumping and the wind was off shore—gusty and really strong. I headed out with my Jaws partners Patri and Toast. Halfway up there, our jet ski broke down. We had to idle back to the boat ramp, fix the ski, then a few hours later—and bit flustered—we went back out. Most of the crowd had left by then. Only Robby Naish and Kai Lenny were up there. Amped to get on the wave, I went full speed from the get go. Immediately getting a few fun ones under my belt and pulling into a barrel—small for Jaws but huge by any other standard—I didn’t make it out but started to understand the waves and see which ones were the good ones. Finally I found myself on a bomb! I saw the barrel and I was able to put myself where I needed to be. Not getting super deep, but pulling inside, seeing the vision and then coming out still on my board was simply awesome. I am so stoked to see that it’s possible to make a barrel at Jaws with a kite. Every session out there just gets better and better and I’m so freaking pumped for more. So much of my life has gone into this and that one moment out there makes it all worth it.
Jesse is truly charging this season and we can’t wait to see what he pulls off next. Fellow Team Naish riders Kai Lenny and Robby Naish—bringing along all their whole quiver of windsurf, kite surf, tow-in, and SUP gear—were also right there with him getting their own insane waves. Click here to learn more about the Naish Pivot–the kite Jesse made kitesurfing history with–and watch some standout clips from the day below.
December 9, 2015 Peahi (Jaws) Maui multisport sessions from Xensr on Vimeo.