Chuck Patterson, Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend are doing something that no one else in the world is currently attempting, “skiing” massive waves. They have single handedly created this one of a kind adventure sports and they are taking it to a kickass level by wave skiing some of the biggest waves in the world.

Wave Skiing Chuck Patterson (Small)

Chuck Patterson skis Jaws

The Invention of Wave Skiing in Hawaii

Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend are both freeskiing legends who had a dream of taking skiing out onto the sea. Onto some really big waves actually. After trying out a whole lot of different skis and boot combinations on Alpine lakes they found the right setup. Normal ski boots combined with extra fat and wide skis was all it took to fulfill their dream of towing into big waves on skis in Hawaii. After 4 weeks, 5 broken skis, and 1 big scare, they proved that it is, in fact, possible to waterski the waves of Hawaii.

Wave Skiing Mike Douglas

It took them some tries but they really manage to make some carving turns on huge waves that earned them respect within the, never easily to impress, surf community.

Wave Skiing, Turning Dreams into Reality

Chuck Patterson is a former pro Freeskier, a professional Waterman, and one of the most fearless humans we’ve seen. Patterson always had a gut feeling that he could do something cool with his fat skis out on the waves among the surfers.

Wave skiing 1

Patterson had envisioned wave skiing in the 90’s and he had discussed it at great length with his good friend Shane Mc Conkey, world Champion free skier and base jumper. They were always talking about exploring the idea of taking water skis out into the big waves in Hawaii and skiing the waves like the mountains.

In 2000, Patterson got his hands on a pair of custom jumper water skis and while living on Maui, got the opportunity to tow into a couple big waves and experience for the first time what he had always dreamed about. The skis were a little too big and boxy, which made them hard to turn; but they could glide for a couple hundred yards with ease. The technology at the time allowed for little more than a novel, but limited experience. Looking back on that experiment he recalls:  “I knew it was more of a stunt; something fun to explore, been there, done that, kind of thing; so I moved on.”

Then, in 2009 Chuck’s passion for the idea was re-lit after watching Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend ski the waves of Maui. Their ‘ski wave descends’ inspired Patterson and he decided to do it bigger and better!

Chuck Patterson skis Jaws

The technology behind the emerging sport, designed and manufactured by Jason Starr and Starr Surf Skis, had seen huge developments. The boxy water skis that Patterson had brought from traditional waterskiing had been replaced by actual ski boots and bindings mounted to skis that had been specially designed for tow-in wave skiing. This opened a whole new world of possibilities and Patterson wanted to try it all.  

Wave Skis (Small)

Skiing ‘Jaws’ the most powerful wave on Earth

In January 2011, Patterson followed the biggest swell of the year to Maui, to see if he could successfully ski Pe’ahi or ‘Jaws’ — one of the most powerful waves on earth.

Pulled into ‘Jaws’ by a jet ski Patterson did what he knew best, carving into the swells as if they were any other powder snow run in the Rocky mountains.Chuck Patterson Ski Surfing tow in with Jet Ski 1 (Small)


Patterson’s endeavor to ski Jaws’ waves was featured in a mini documentary by Salomon TV which is more then worth watching if you like either waves or skiing! Very kickass!

Other Unusual Skiing Adventures

Surfing god Kelly Slater was one of the first people to ‘surf’ big waves on unusual objects when he went surfing on a Table, a Door, Guitar Case, Sled and Snowboard.

Patterson was surely inspired by other unusual skiing adventurers as well: “Skiing volcanic ash in Vanuatu” and “the Man who Skied down Everest with a Parachute”.

Anyone other novel kickass skiing ideas?!