2019 Jaws Big Wave Championships gets green light

December 11, 2019 | Surfing
Jaws: Bianca Valenti drops into the abyss | Photo: Hallman/WSL

The 2019 Jaws Big Wave Championships will run on Thursday, December 12, 2019, at Peahi, Maui.

The first event of the new World Surf League competitive big wave surfing era is expecting waves in the 35-to-50-foot range.

The world's finest male and female performers will compete in a paddle-only contest and defy Nature's raw power in one of the most powerful waves on the planet.

The storm generating this swell is starting to pull together north of Japan and should intensify quickly in the next 24-36 hours.

"There's a solid NW swell building in. It should be strongest for the morning hours on Thursday and will gradually fader over the afternoon," the official surf forecasters revealed.

"It's fairly consistent showing a 13-to-15-foot deepwater swell off Maui with a swell period of between 17 and 18 seconds with peak energy around 325 degrees."

"The swell's direction is also favorable with enough north so that shadowing shouldn't be a problem and enough west for providing great barrels on the West Bowl."

"We're still unsure about the exact wind conditions. East to ENE trade wind appears to be the likeliest scenario with a suggested speed in the 15-18 knot range."

Makua Rothman: negotiating a fine line at Jaws | Photo: Hallman/WSL

The Competitive Format

The competition format is relatively simple.

In the first round, the 24 male surfers will be divided into four 45-minute heats of six surfers. Judges will be scoring each ride on a scale of 1 to 10.

The best two waves are counted, with the highest wave score doubled. The three highest-scoring surfers advance through to the semifinals; the top three from the semifinals advance to the final.

On the women's side, there will be ten athletes competing in two five-surfer semifinals - the top three surfers in each heat advance to the final.

The organization also underlined that due to safety and environmental concerns, there is no location available for on-site spectating for the 2019 Jaws Big Wave Championships.

2019 Jaws Big Wave Championships | Round 1 Matchups

Men
Heat 1: Grant Baker (ZAF), Eli Olson (HAW), Russell Bierke (AUS), Jojo Roper (USA), Makuakai Rothman (HAW), Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Heat 2: Kai Lenny (HAW), Alex Botelho (PRT), Nic von Rupp (PRT), Ian Walsh (HAW), Mark Healey (HAW), Will Skudin (USA)
Heat 3: Billy Kemper (HAW), Albee Layer (HAW), Nathan Florence (HAW), Nic Lamb (USA), Greg Long (USA), Tom Lowe (GBR)
Heat 4: Lucas Chianca (BRA), Tyler Larronde (HAW), João De Macedo (PRT), Koa Rothman (HAW), Torrey Meister (HAW), Ty Simpson-Kane (HAW)

Women
Heat 1: Keala Kennelly (HAW), Justine Dupont (FRA), Paige Alms (HAW), Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Skylar Lickle (HAW)
Heat 2: Emily Erickson (HAW), Bianca Valenti (USA), Raquel Heckert (BRA), Annie Reichert (HAW), Michaela Fregonese (BRA)

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