Manera’s Big Wave surfer ambassador Justine Dupont has been on total fire in her wild tour on the west coast, from Mavericks to Todos Santos then on to Maui where she caught the biggest barrel of her life tow surfing Jaws on Super Swell Saturday (Jan 19, 2021). Conditions have been absolutely EPIC and that all started at Mavericks back in December. Check out her massive barrel and also a recap of her tour (in French) below.
You can read Justine’s full interview with Surfline here where she recounts that barrel at Jaws. Here are some excerpts:
How were you feeling leading up to this swell in Hawaii?
It was so crazy because it was right after the run of swell we got at Maverick’s. We were surfing every day with Jamie Mitchell – out there every morning at sunrise and then all day long. We scored some nice sessions, mostly paddling. Then there was the big, big swell, and I got the opportunity to tow with Jeff [Clark]. Then we went all the way to Todos the day after for this strike mission. Then back to Maverick’s and surfed again. It was nonstop.
I thought it might’ve been too much, like, my body might not be able to handle it. But at the same time, when I saw the swell, it looked so big. And because of the wind, I was more thinking about a tow session. After all my time at Nazaré, I was feeling pretty confident in my tow surfing. So, I thought, even if I had low energy, I thought I could make it happen if we were towing. And we decided to do it.
Talk us through that wave…
It’s funny, I never tow at Jaws. Michel [Larronde] towed Tyler [Larronde] for an hour or so, and Tyler was surfing so well. Michel was putting Tyler in the perfect spot. It was so good to watch. I was really focusing on what they were doing – what lines they picked, how Tyler surfed, when they would go fast. Then they asked if I wanted one. And I was okay with a smaller wave to start off, since my last wave at Jaws was two years ago.
So, I got the first one and I was feeling really good. I was really confident in Michel. We were waiting a really long time and we ended up going way deep in the lineup. A set came and nobody was going, so we went for it. When I let go of the rope, I remember thinking I was so, so deep. But I also remembered Tyler telling me: ‘If you think the wave will be a closeout, that’s good. That means you’re going to get barreled.’
Best wave of your life at Jaws?
For sure. I got a pretty big one two years ago during the contest. It was a similar swell – a growing swell, really powerful, with long period. But I was paddling then. I just had a straight line, but no barrel. And this one was better, obviously, because of the barrel.
I wanted to get more, but at the same time I was so tired from these last few weeks. The crew told me: ‘You’re not going to get a better one today. For sure you could get a bigger one, but not a better one than that.’ So, I had a voice in my head telling me that I should rest. I was able to get some waves the day after, too, and that was good. I was happy with that.
Seems like the boundaries of big-wave surfing have been considerably pushed this season. You think that’s true, and how so?
Absolutely. I like the balance between tow and paddle surfing. When it’s that windy at Jaws, it’s perfect to tow. I’m really happy to be able to do both, and to be a part of this group that’s pushing the boundaries.
Watching Tyler at Jaws, it was so inspiring. He was surfing the waves like they were two meters. It was like he was going for a walk in the garden. On a tow board, he was pushing the boundaries really hard. Other guys, too, like Kai Lenny and Lucas Chumbo. I really like big-wave surfing going this way of actually surfing the wave. It’s so much more fun, putting the board on rail, and everything like that.
We’re headed back to Nazaré now. I feel like the Pacific turned on – like, crazy turned on. The Atlantic kind of went off, but I feel like it will turn on again. I need to go reset myself and train, so I will go back to Nazaré to do that. Hopefully I will be able to do some new tricks on waves – but first I need a little bit of a rest. And if the Atlantic doesn’t turn on again, I will come back.