Ian, third from right, keeping some of his fans happy last year.

Worth the day rate then?
Well yeah, but once the wind hit it after the swell had made its initial punch that was some of the heaviest seas I have ever been involved in. When we were going home it was 30 knots direct onshore with these huge seas, so the swells were capping. The current was crazy and we were just like a cork in the ocean on the jetski – it was wild.
Back to the actual surfing, for many it was actually refreshing to see Laird and yourself actually towing. Like we’d almost forgotten what that allows you to do out there?
You know that was the first wave I’d towed into in about four years. It felt weird, even blowing the dust off the tow board and grabbing the fins. I’d put all this time and effort into refining my equipment and then I had just put it in the back of my boardroom where it sat gathering dust. I just hadn’t had the chance to use it. The swells over the last few years just naturally lent themselves to paddling.
How was it being back towing?
Well go from a board that is 10’6” long, four inches thick and 21 inches wide, just these big mooses, and then to jump on a little board was so different. But once you are up and riding on the wave it feels totally natural again. You just are a few clicks earlier and the little board lets your turn tighter lines on a dime. You can pick those bits of flat, smooth water, so even though the waves are so big, it’s still a matter of inches where you place your turn. You are still processing and reading the wave – you understand as a surfer where you need to be.
What’s scarier?
The paddle days are so much scarier, that is way more heavy to me. Don’t get me wrong, falling on a very solid wave you tow is heavy but with paddling you are positioning yourself and trying to line a up a three foot platform to have the wave come right to you. The wave catches you, not the other way round, and gives you an opportunity but it’s up to you to put yourself in the right spot to create the opportunity. Then it’s up to you whether you wanna take it or not. Paddling is radical because that also comes with a lot of waves catching you inside  and landing on your head that you don’t get with a jet ski. Paddling you might spend the the whole day to get one wave, but it’s a different, greater, sense of accomplishment. But that day showed that towing has its own rightful place for sure conditions depending.
Could you have paddled any of those waves?
That day I was still thinking if I could paddle some of the waves I saw, or could you stay out of trouble trying to hunt one, so it was still at the very forefront of my mind. But as I said, that day I saw some of the biggest waves I have seen at Jaws the the chances of getting caught by one of the bigger waves were 110%.  Maybe you could have paddled out and tried and get an edge on one, you know just give it a chance and send it, but most of the waves I saw didn’t look they had any entry whatsoever with how fast they were moving and what the wind was doing. The main factor though is that waves are moving so much faster than on the paddle swells we have had. The difference in speed of a big big paddle wave and a big big tow wave is vast. It may look like slow motion, but when you are paddling up the face trying to turn around, it feels like a ferrari going past. That’s the biggest factor.
I can’t imagine a wipeout or being caught by a clean up out  there, but given the choice, what would you prefer?
I’d take falling on a wave ten times over getting caught inside. With the pounding at least you have the rush of trying to knife into one. When you are getting caught inside you are staring that fucker right in the face when it comes at you. There’s no blinking, nothing can help you and you have a very good idea of how big the waves is that is about to mow you down.


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