Surfer escapes powerful clench of jaws

(First photo) While most surfers riding the large waves at the Peahi surf spot “Jaws” early Thursday morning were being towed in by personal watercraft, Albee Layer caught this wave the old-fashioned way – he paddled in. After a sweet ride, he made it out standing, though just barely, with a mountain of whitewater exploding behind him.

(Second photo) Spectators and photographers line the cliff above the Peahi surf spot. Thursday’s waves were reportedly smaller than they were late Wednesday, but Thursday benefited from lighter winds that were coming out of a more favorable direction for surfing. Larger set waves were running in the 30- to 45-foot range Thursday morning before dropping through the day.

(Third photo) Traffic entering Paia is backed up past Baldwin Beach Park on Thursday morning as big-wave watchers flocked to Maui’s north shore.