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TheKiteMag 52 The Mission Cover Boy 3 1200x635 - Cover Boy

Cover Boy

How could we not give Patri McLaughlin the cover for that insane shot at Jaws by Daniel Sullivan? Patri tells us how he managed to bag the biggest wave of his life, and possibly the biggest wave ever ridden in the world… Here we take a look at that wave and at some of the other beasts tackled that day…

Photo here: Adam Carbajal

This whole session shouldn’t have happened. I’d had an emergency appendectomy surgery four weeks prior – I spent two nights in the hospital due to a ruptured appendix, and if I didn’t get the surgery, I could have died within 48 hours. Thank goodness for modern medicine… I hadn’t kited or trained at all since the operation and I wasn’t completely healed, but I couldn’t pass up on the biggest swell in a decade… I had to try.

When we first pulled up on the ski, I knew it was super gnarly. I watched a 40-foot-tall wave have a 40-foot-wide barrel. Not only was it huge, but it was also super powerful. I can’t count how many times I’ve made the trek up to Jaws, but this was the most intimidating it had ever looked. I was worried if I watched it too long, I probably wouldn’t have gone out. We launched our kites as fast as we could. I had a new board from Sky Solbach that I’d never ridden before, and a brand new 6m Neo SLS. After I caught one warmup wave to make sure my gear felt good, it was game on. I caught a lot of waves that day, but nothing compares to the last wave I rode.

The last wave I caught was the most special wave of my life. It’s very difficult to get a giant wave at Jaws. The wind is usually easterly and the biggest sets often come from a westerly direction, making it almost straight offshore and impossible to get into. I tried to catch a couple of giant waves earlier in the session but just got ripped out the back of the wave. This wave came through just as the wind started to die. It was the biggest wave of the day during the biggest swell in 10 years. The wind had died down just enough that the lighter wind allowed me to catch that wave without ripping me out the back. When I kicked out into the channel I couldn’t even stay upwind anymore. That wave came through at the perfect time…

After I saw the photos, I realized just how big the wave was. I think if I’d fallen my appendix would have ruptured all over again! I’ve spent my life kiting Jaws, and it was the biggest wave that I’ve ever caught…

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