Pete Cabrinha on his way to winning the Billabong XXL Award and an induction into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest wave ever ridden.
Pete Cabrinha, a surfer since the age of 5 has lived his life in and around the ocean. Throughout the 80’s Pete pursued a career in professional windsurfing which culminated into a world championship title. Shortly thereafter Pete got reacquainted with his first love in life…. Surfing. In the early nineties Pete was running with a pack of like minded, free thinking individuals, who were all living on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The small crew of friends were all surfers who were playing out the tail end of their professional windsurfing careers. Their spirited surf sessions were a near toxic game of one-upmanship. The general idea was to push surfing’s envelope, to squash the status quo, to re-arrange the established forms of surfing in a way that drew from the past but looked towards the future.
According to Pete, “This daily regiment required some thinking out of the box. It meant tapping into strange, unconventional ideas.”
Through that effort strap surfing and tow surfing were born. They pioneered the use of a personal water craft and a strapped up surfboard to effectively tow each other into waves which until then, were thought to be un-surfable. The band of surfers became known to the world at large as The Strapped Crew.
With their new tools and technique in hand, their collective focus shifted to the pursuit of a single idea. To ride the biggest waves in the world in a way that no one had done before.
Lucky for Pete and his friends, there was a little known, mythical big wave spot located just off the coast of the North Shore Maui. Jaws as it is now most commonly known, had until this time remained a secret, even to most of the surf population in Maui.
The Strapped crew, equipped with their new tools set out to tackle Jaws one wave at a time. Pete recalls, “From the first day of tow surfing at Jaws, one thing became crystal clear to everyone. By towing ourselves into these waves with a jet ski, we could catch, and hopefully ride, any sized wave that the ocean would send our way.”
This turned out to be more than a passing statement. On January 10, 2004, during the swell of the decade, Pete Cabrinha towed into a 70’ wave at Jaws, Maui on specially designed surfboard. Earning him the coveted Billabong XXL award and an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest wave ever ridden.
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