Jaws Invitational

Red Bull to host new big-wave paddle-in contest this winter

Ian Walsh, a familiar face at Maui's favorite big-wave spot. Photo: Aeder

SURFER has learned that a new Eddie-style paddle-in contest will be held this winter on Maui at Jaws. The event, hosted by Red Bull, will feature 21 invite-only surfers and will have a waiting period that will run from December 7 to March 15.

For weeks, rumors of the event have been swirling, but until today Red Bull had yet to officially confirm the event. Late yesterday, John John Florence and other surfers began sharing images of their invitee box to the event on Instagram.

According to an event spokesperson, a microsite page on RedBull.com will evolve over time to reveal which competitors will be competing in the event. “As each athlete confirms his invite, their page will go live on the event’s website. Once all the competitors’ photos change from blank question marks to real photos/bios, the official list will be revealed.

When asked about the athlete selection criteria, Red Bull provided the following: “Red Bull’s panel of big-wave experts selected competitors based on recent performances in waves of comparable magnitude to Jaws; a demonstrated willingness to amplify the level of big wave surfing; and career experience in riding big waves both freely and competitively,” said a Red Bull spokesperson. “This progressive troupe of surfers is charged with forging a path for Red Bull big-wave riders of the future.”

Big-wave surfing legend Mike Parsons will be working as the contest director for the event.

The prize purse for the event is still unknown. Additionally, it’s been said that Quiksilver’s Eddie event and Red Bull’s Jaws event will not be run at the same time.

The move to hold a new paddle-in only contest speaks to a larger trend in big-wave surfing. Over the course of that past few years, the upper-echelon of big-wave surfers have begun shunning the Jet Ski in favor of paddling into waves with the power of their own two arms.

When the event runs, it will be streamed live through a specialty page on RedBull.com and will also air as a one-hour special on Red Bull’s Signature Series on NBC on June 9.

John John Florence recently posted this shot of his invitee box for the Red Bull paddle event at Jaws.