THE World Surf League (WSL) issued a Green Alert on Wednesday for the Jaws Big Wave Championships, meaning the event, featuring Ulladulla's Russell Bierke, will kick-off on Thursday.
Bierke and the rest of the world's best big wave surfers are now in transit to Pe'ahi, Maui, Hawaii to defy nature and challenge themselves in waves forecast to be in the 35-to-50-foot range on the face.
The Jaws Big Wave Championships is the world's premier paddle-only big wave event, taking place at the famed Pe'ahi surf break on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii.
Rich with the sport's history of innovation and progression, the contest brings the world's elite male and female athletes together at the ultimate proving ground to compete for the coveted championship.
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History-making performances have solidified Jaws' reputation as the pinnacle for big-wave surfing over the past decade.
Jaws has hosted some of the biggest waves ever witnessed in competition, and winning this event sets the standard for the sport.
In the men's division, Bierke and the other 23 competitors will be divided into four heats of six surfers for the first round.
Heats are generally 45 minutes and surfers may catch as many waves as they wish with a panel of five judges scoring each ride on a scale of one to 10.
Each competitor's two best waves are counted, with their best wave score doubled.
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The three highest-scoring surfers advance to the semi-finals, which run in the same format, and the top three from the semi-finals advance to the final.
The women's division runs in a similar format with 10 competitors participating in two five-surfer semi-finals with the top three surfers in each heat advancing to the final.