LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA (Monday, November 6, 2023) – The World Surf League (WSL) 2023/2024 Big Wave season is officially open. This Big Wave season will feature events at two iconic locations: the TUDOR Nazaré Big Wave Challenge in Nazaré, Portugal, and the TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge at Peʻahi in Maui, Hawaii. The holding period to run the competition at Nazaré opens today, and Peʻahi starts on November 10. Both events’ holding period closes on March 31, 2024.

Nazaré and Pe’ahi

The WSL Tours and Competition Team will closely monitor the swells and conditions needed to run these events and call the competition ON once wave heights and weather align for the best possible conditions. The best big wave surfers in the world will be on call to activate at a moment’s notice and travel to one of the two world-class venues.

These events will be a thrilling showcase of the fearless athletes who have wholeheartedly committed their lives to chasing monumental swells and conquering towering waves. With relentless year-round mental and physical training, they stand ready to tackle these colossal challenges head-on. Therefore, this is their moment to demonstrate their unparalleled prowess, pushing the boundaries of big wave surfing to unprecedented heights. They also inspire the world with their unmatched determination and skill.

Big Wave Surfers Prepare for Major Swells

Peʻahi (also known as Jaws) in Maui and Praia do Norte in Nazaré are two of the most renowned and respected waves in the big wave community. So each location is a significant proving ground for the paddle-in and tow-in disciplines, respectively, and the site of historical World Records for the largest waves ever ridden. 

Some of the most memorable moments in big wave surfing have happened during these past events. The 2019 Peʻahi event saw massive barrels and heavy wipeouts. The 2022 Nazaré Challenge witnessed the next level of tow surfing as competitors performed technical manoeuvres on giant waves. 

Minimum of 25 Feet

The WSL Tours and Competition team will look for consistent surf, with a minimum of 25 feet on the face of the wave throughout the competition. Also, other conditions, such as wind, tide, and fog, will be assessed in the decision to run the competitions. If a large swell tracks toward the contest location(s) with favourable weather conditions, the WSL Tours and Competition team will issue a probable start “Big Wave Yellow Alert” as far as 72 hours out from the potential event run date. Thereafter, if the conditions continue to track favourably, the “Big Wave Green Alert” will be issued, meaning the competition will be ON. Thereon, fans can prepare to watch surfers push the limits of what is possible in the next 24 hours. 

The WSL is also thrilled to announce the commencement of our Big Wave season in collaboration with Red Bull, marking the fifth consecutive year of the partnership. Thus as a testament to Red Bull’s unwavering commitment to Big Wave, fans and extreme sports enthusiasts worldwide can experience every heart-pounding moment LIVE via Red Bull TV and WorldSurfLeague.com

TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge

About the Venue: Peʻahi, Maui, Hawaii 

The TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge will showcase paddle-in surfing at the famed break off of Maui, Hawaii. Due to its power, velocity, and ability to be one of the most perfect big waves on the planet, Peʻahi is the standard venue for paddle-in big-wave surfing. 

Recognizing the devastating Maui wildfires, the WSL continues to work with local surfers and civic and community leaders to ensure that this event benefits Maui’s people and economy. It is a source of support and community revitalization along the lengthy road to recovery.

As with all Big Wave competitions held at Peʻahi since the event’s inception, due to safety and environmental concerns, there is no location available for on-site spectating during the TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge. Thus, there will be no parking available to non-residents on either side of Haña Highway anywhere near the event location on the day of the competition. As a result, All the action from the competition will be broadcast live, and fans are encouraged to tune in to the live broadcast or support local businesses that air the event live.

About the Format and Invitees 

The TUDOR Jaws Big Wave Challenge will feature paddle-in surfing in an individual competition format. The men’s division, 24 competitors are divided into four heats of six surfers for the first round. Thereafter, the three highest-scoring surfers advance to the Semifinals, which run in the same format, and the top three surfers from the Semifinals advance to the Final. The women’s division runs similarly, with 12 competitors participating in two six-surfer Semifinals, with the top three surfers in each heat advancing to the Final. 

This season will be the first time six-surfer priority will come into play in a big wave competition. Priority is the system that controls who has the first option to ride a wave. The priority system was requested by the surfers and is beneficial for Peʻahi because it creates organization and adds safety to the lineup in massive swells. Also, heats are generally 45 minutes, and surfers may catch as many waves as they wish, respecting priority, with a panel of five judges scoring each ride on a scale of 1 to 10. Each competitor’s two best waves are counted, with their best-wave score doubled. 

Confirmed competitor lists and heat draws will be shared closer to the event being called on as athletes verify their participation.

Men’s Invitees

1 – Billy Kemper (HAW)

2 – Ian Walsh (HAW)

3 – Nathan Florence (HAW)

4 – Kai Lenny (HAW)

5 – Makua Rothman (HAW)

6 – Lucas Chianca (BRA)

7 – Russell Bierke (AUS)

8 – Nic von Rupp (PRT)

9 – Eli Olson (HAW)

10 – Torrey Meister (HAW)

11 – Koa Rothman (HAW)

12 – Nic Lamb (USA)

13 – Grant Baker (RSA)

14 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS)

15 – Albee Layer (HAW)

16 – Tyler Larronde (HAW)

17 – Jojo Roper (USA)

18 – Ty Simpson-Kane (HAW)

19 – Matt Bromley (RSA)

20 – Francisco Porcella (ITA)

21 – Trevor Carlson (HAW)

22- Tom Lowe (GBR)

23 – Aaron Gold (HAW)

24 – Greg Long (USA)

Women’s Invitees

1 – Paige Alms (HAW)

2 – Felicity Palmateer (AUS)

3 – Annie Reickert (HAW)

4 – Keala Kennelly (HAW)

5 – Emily Erickson (HAW)

6 – Michaela Fregonese (BRA)

7 – Bianca Valenti (USA)

8 – Skylar Lickle (HAW)

9 – Justine Dupont (FRA)

10 – Raquel Heckert (BRA)

11 – Laura Enever (AUS)

12 – Izzy Gomez (COL)

See also: Photo Of The Day – Biggest Wave Ridden By A Woman Scoops Awards