Honolulu, HAWAII - (Monday, January 7, 2002) -- Hawaii's Garrett McNamara and Brazilian Rodrigo Resende vow to waste no time in tracking down the next giant swell, inspired by their victory today at 'Jaws', Maui, in the Tow-In World Cup pairs tow-in surfing competition. Gigantic waves in the range of 20 to 40 feet hit the North Shore of Maui today, setting the stage for a unique event that has surfers towed into waves at high speed behind jet-skis, traveling at around 50 miles per hours before they release the tow rope and ride the waves.
Named for its unforgiving nature and huge, gnarling waves of winter, 'Jaws' unleashed its best today and made dreams come true for both organizers and competitors alike.
Surfing through two rounds of competition with both competitors in each team trading the roles of jet-ski driver and surfer, McNamara and Resende emerged victorious to claim the winner's purse of $70,000 to be shared between them with a total score of 143.6 points based on each surfer's top three rides. Second place went to Californian pair Brad Gerlach and Mike Parsons (132.4 points), and third place was Brazilian duo Carlos Burle and Eraldo Gueiros (130.5 points).
A vertical wave that is virtually impossible to paddle into by human arm power, Jaws is the ideal tow-in venue. Reaching break-neck speeds, surfers are towed over the crest of the wave, releasing their tow ropes in time to hurtle down the face of the wave that then barrels over completely for potentially deadly tube ride. Several surfboards were smashed today and even a jetski suffered the wrath of the break that affronts a cliff-face, smashed beyond repair on the rocks. But there were no serious injuries, just a succession of mind-blowing rides.
In total, 13 two-man teams contested the event. The highest scores were awarded to those who rode the largest waves with the most critical positioning - tube rides being the most critical - and completed them successfully. The highest single ride was scored by Californian Mike Parsons, who was towed into a giant wave and pulled in under the heaving lip for a tube-ride that had onlookers fearing for his life.
"That wave was the first of the contest for me and reminded me of the wave at the Cortez Bank," said Parsons, who rode to infamy in enormous waves at Cortez earlier this year. Parsons scored the only perfect 10 of the entire event for his ride and it contributed greatly to his team's second place finish.
The day started out under a blanket of gray, but by afternoon the skies were clear and competitors were riding a sea of cobalt blue.
Thirty-two year-old Resende, from Rio de Janeiro, was one of the clear stars of the day and well deserved the winner's check along with his partner. Towing into a series of giant waves, Resende demonstrated exactly why he has been chosen as Brazil's premier big wave rider for the past three years. Following his team's victory, he was literally speechless, asking to be left alone for a few minutes to pause upon his victory, pray and come to terms with the achievement of his team that they had worked and dreamed so hard for. When he emerged from his moment of contemplation, he and McNamara wasted no time in setting their next goals: "We're going to have a huge party tonight and then tomorrow we're going to chase the next big swell. Maybe even to Mavericks (in Northern California)."
Apparently the cartoon dimensions of today's waves opened up a new realm for many of the competitors.
"I grew a lot today. I reached a whole new level of surfing in my life," said Brad Gerlach, partner to Parsons.
"The barrel I had today was timeless," third-placed Carlos Burle said of perhaps the largest tube ride ridden today. "It was easily 30 feet Hawaiian scale, probably more," Event Director Rosaldo Cavalcante said of Burle's barrel. "It was truly unbelievable."
While only a select few were able to witness the event first-hand today, the goal of the event was to produce an epic documentary on the relatively new, extreme sport of tow-in surfing that will be made available to the world.
"We came here to run an epic contest," said Event Director Rosaldo Cavalcante. "We waited. We got it. It's in the books already. It's history. We will be producing a documentary and DVD of the event and people all over the world will be able to experience on the screen what we lived in person today. The show will be produced by cutting edge Brazilian post-production house 'Estudios Mega' and will be out in three to six months."
For further information about this event:
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