Sean Mcclenahan rides mythic Jaws on his Skimboard


It was a cool, breezy Maui morning last Friday as Bill “Beaker”Bryan and I awoke to the call that it was officially on. After years of planning and talking about surfing Jaws on a skimboard, we could feel history was about to be made. With veteran jaws surfer and expert ski driver Jason Blue behind the wheel we loaded up the trucks with the boards, float vests, and equipment.

The buoys were reading 12-15 foot long period NNW swell with 15-17 second intervals and calling for north winds, which aren’t the most ideal conditions for surfing out there. As we passed Hookipa we could see the outer reefs were bombing and the anticipation and rattling of nerves began to sink in. Jason and Bill pulled into Maliko Gulch which is a few bays down from Jaws and safest place to launch the jetski.

I drove my truck up to the cliffs to meet up with Jason Harris, owner of “Jerome Baker Designs”, who had helped organize the event and lined up a videographer to film the action! As I got to the top of the cliffs overlooking Jaws I saw Bill Bryan catch a monster left and ride it all the way across the reef. I’ve watched Jaws break only a handful of times and knew this was our day to shine. With the sketchy conditions and north wind there was no one else towing or paddling even though it was bombing.

After throwing on my wetsuit and strapping on my “Quatic” safety vest I began to make my way down the goat trail to get down by the beach. As I got down to the beach with help from a Haiku local named Sean I scouted out the best place to jump in and paddle out.

With the six foot plus shorebreak exploding on dry boulders and the river rushing with huge logs floating in the water I tried to time it and jumped in. As I began to paddle out, the water sucked dry and I began bottoming out hitting the rocks, taking two waves on the head which ended with cut knuckles on my right hand. After making it through the treacherous shorebreak I felt a little relief as I began to paddle out to the peak, which is about a half a mile out whilst bleeding from my right hand. As I got to the peak I saw Bill catch another left all the way inside then lose his board in the rocks. At this point I began to get scared as I’d already been paddling for about 40 minutes drifting near the peak, and Bill and Jason still didn’t know that I was in the water.

Finally after waiving my board around and yelling, they finally found me floating amongst the mountains of water. Jason told me to wait there and he’d be right back after he drove Bill inside to look for his board on the rocks. As the ski drove away I told them I’d be fine, a giant west bowl came sneaking in and I was caught in the impact zone. I dipped the first one barely as the second wave broke right on my head, rag dolling me and holding me down for about 20 seconds. Right as I surfaced there was a third wave right on top of me which pounded me again. Just as I started to get worried, Jason came flying up on the ski and I climbed on the life sled just in time before getting nailed by the fourth wave. After that proper pounding I knew it was time to catch a bomb myself. My first wave was one of my biggest waves of the session. I held on to the tow rope as Jason drove over the first wave and began throttling for the second wave as it began to jack up on the reef.

As I let go of the rope the wave began to grow and I momentarily felt like a was snowboarding down a black diamond slope whilst trying to navigate through the bumps and chop. As I got to the bottom of the wave to set my rail I almost slid out, but was able to yank on my outside rail and managed to hold my bottom turn. I made it all the way to the inside while Jason came flying up on the ski screaming with excitement and I began to scream too after catching the biggest wave of my life. Funny it happened to be finless and on a skimboard. We towed into a few more bombs then the wind started to get nasty and more choppy.

After successfully towing into about 6 waves we decided to quit while we were ahead and call it a day. I was so grateful to catch a ride back to Maliko on the ski and not have to go in through the shorebreak and boulders again. On the ski ride back I was floating on endorphins and adrenaline also frothing at the accomplishment of being the fist person along with Bill Bryan to surf Jaws on a skimboard, making history in the world of surfing and skimboarding! Can’t wait to do it again!

Big thanks to sponsors for making dreams come true! Victoria Skimboards, Maui Jim Sunglasses, CMV clothing, Dakine, XS Energy, Beaker Boards, Grape Skimboards, Astrodeck, Jerome Baker Designs and Kine Ocean Design for capturing the video and frame grab!



Sean Skim Hawaii!