One of the biggest talking points that came out of last week’s Chopes swell was not the incredible waves that were ridden, but the chaos that ensured when around 18 jetski teams were all trying to ride them. With tow surfing, normal line-up rules don’t apply. Its all done out to sea, at high speed, and when its 15 foot plus, the general consensus was that it was lucky no-one died.

The closest to death was Sancho, and his tow partner and life saver Alain Riou attributed his near miss to the crowd. “We had been waiting a long time for that wave and as we headed in another ski got on our way, I had to slow down and go around it and we ended up too deep despite going full throttle.”

Shane Dorian said “It was the best swell ever, just wish it was without the jetski anger.” Mark Mathews told SE that, “Manoa, Raimana, Poto get all the bombs whether they’re driving or surfing and everyone else scrambles for everything else. They way it should be. But it was super dangerous because you end up in positions you really don’t want to be in.”

But it was Laird Hamilton who has been the most vocal, telling  the Hollywood gossip site TMZ  (obviously) that, “They are so much more concerned with catching the next wave than with other surfers. The chaos of the jet skis’ movement has a circus-like aspect. Some behaviors were borderline clownish.”

Almost 13 years ago and the only circus in town was Laird’s big top. Photo Mckenna

And even though Laird pretty much invented the sport in the first, and is responsible for big-wave surfing’s mainstream interest he went on to say, “They’re all wearing a bunch of cameras, taking off on waves they have NO chance of making. They drop in just so they can have a photo of themselves … ‘Wow, look at me!'”



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