Reo rides Jaws

Some thoughts from KW 96 cover star Reo Stevens after his first outing at Peahi




Words: Reo Stevens / Image: Kyle Krannichfeld

Last week I got to experience Peahi/Jaws from the water for the first time. I never thought my first time trying to catch a wave there (on any craft) would be the day that they called the WSL contest off because it was “too big”.

I watched from the channel for over two hours watching Kai Lenny dominate the session tow surfing, just playing with the wave like his own personal skate park. The wind looked TERRIBLE! Gusty and offshore with some of the biggest and gnarliest waves I have ever seen. I was not going to be the first one out. Instead I sat back and watch while Jesse Richman and Patri McLaughlin made their way up with their own ski and kite gear. The two have been out at Jaws kiting more than anyone I know so I thought it wise to wait and follow their lead. Hoping that they would say “nah, no good” and leave me off the hook, they said the opposite. “Let’s give it a go, what could possibly go wrong!?!”

I was stoked to catch a few before I crashed my kite on a smaller one (for no reason other than f*cked up wind) only to get mowed over by one of the medium ones of the day that was right behind it. I was extremely disappointed with myself as I was just starting to feel the place out and was getting comfortable enough to want to go for a good one and take a proper line on it. I was hoping to just release the kite, get picked up by our rescue ski in the water (thanks Ethan Koopmans) and pick up my kite for another go, but that wasn’t the case as the next wave that hit the kite demolished it and washed it up on the rocks. Oh well, hopefully another chance will happen this winter.

One thing is for sure, when it comes to riding Peahi with a kite, riding the wave is 25% of the skill needed, the other part is actually flying the kite and dealing with the 10-45knt swirling winds that are coming off the wave (it’s like kiting in a tornado). Really with these offshore winds any kiter is just edging and and running down the line not really riding the wave, but rather just trying to keep up with it and keeping your kite in front of the lip line.

But on this day it was more because of the conditions on hand with winds being as offshore and gusty as anyone’s ever experienced in waves of that size apparently (I was happy to hear it wasn’t normal for a kite to be swatted out of the sky as violently as if someone grabbed and slammed it to the floor). The idea that the wind can actually turn more side shore has really left me wanting to try it again though as the potential for what is possible out there is unbelievable!

In the mean time, here’s a shot by Lyle Krannichfeld. Thanks for documenting the last known whereabouts of my new Ozone KitesReoV5 10m. haha.


Reo bagged the cover of the new issue – KW 96. He first featured on the front of KW 20 years ago!

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