Two years ago Chuck Patterson lit up the internet after taking to Jaws on a pair of Skis and now he’s back, this time with a GoPro strapped to the nose, to give you a unique perspective on what it’s like to ski down one of the scariest waves in the world.
Chuck is one of those hybrid sportsmen, like Kai Lenny or Shaun White, who have somehow managed to elevate to the top ranks of multiple different sports. In the case of Chuck, his proficiency across the board has put him in the optimum position to pioneer the new sport of skiing on waves.
“We tried on a pair of jumping water skis first – long, flat, wide skis. They had incredible glide!” He said of his first experience trying it out in an interview with Red Bull.
“I got pulled into the wave, and just cruised along super fast until I shot way out in front of the wave. There was no edge control because of the soft waterski binding and huge surface area. So we said, ‘cool, we did it’.”
After that Chuck left the idea for ten years, until he heard that two other freeskiers were working on the idea. “I got a pair and took ’em out on the Central Cali coast on a day we were surfing a 12m slab. The other guys were laughing so hard, they couldn’t wait to see me eat it. I’d never even been on the skis before.”
Surprisingly though, the session actually went pretty well, igniting a passion in Chuck to pursue his new venture further.
“The minute I let go of the tow-rope, the glide, the angulation, everything made sense. The ski boots gave me leverage over the skis. I was doing these big GS turns on the wave face. I got 20 waves that day on skis! We towed a few other places – I grabbed poles for balance and comfort – but I knew I had to go to the Alaska of wave-skiing – JAWS.”
Having windsurfed, kite-surfed , surfed and SUP’ed at the break over the years, Chuck knew the line up well, and after some prep, he was out there.
“The first drop was nuts – I barely made it, and dropped the lip just like a cornice, going faster than I’ve ever gone. I got three rides and called it a day. The next day we went back to smaller but cleaner waves and just had a blast – big S-turns, fading back into the wave…”
That was just the begining and Chuck has been back several times since, continually pushing the limits of what do-able. As for the future of the sport in general, he reckons it depends entirely on who’s keen to take it up: “I’d love to see what some of the freestyle kids could do with some practice. You can get great speed – and with the right timing off the lip, they could easily do a rodeo or a corked seven and stomp it right back into the wave.”