Jamie Mitchell has been one of the major stories of the year when it comes to big wave surfing, between win at Nazare and a second at Puerto, a broken sternum, and being named performer of the year at the Big Wave Awards.

Jamie came into the Peahi Challenge rated second in the world and was looking to make some ground in the title race, but ended up falling short in what many are calling the greatest heat in big wave history.

We caught up with Jamie after the event to chat about the conditions, his performance, how his body is healing up, and where his head’s at coming into winter.

Talk to us about the event at Peahi, Jamie. The conditions looked pretty dreamy on the second day.
The direction was perfect, the wind was perfect, it was pretty amazing. Best event ever. Ian Walsh’s wave was the best wave I’ve ever seen in my life, could be the best big wave ever ridden. The thing was solid 20-foot, and he got a long, draining barrel. It was pretty groundbreaking.

Your score in the second semi would have won you the heat before, and yet you ended up coming last. You must have been pretty disappointed not to advance—not only because of the result, t also because you didn’t get to surf for another hour during the final.
That heat was just crazy. I was so frustrated. A set came through and everyone got waves except for me, and then it sort of went flat, and before I could find one everyone was back in the lineup and then it all started again. Best event ever. Ian Walsh’s wave was the best wave I’ve ever seen in my life, could be the best big wave ever riddenI sort of got out-hassled and out-paddled in that heat, and normally paddling is my strength. I just want to surf, I don’t really like playing games, but I think maybe I need to be more aggressive or something.

I’d love to see priority in heats in big wave events, like Dorian mentioned last week. It would put the focus more on the waves ridden, and then maybe we could see more waves like Ian’s. But fair enough, it was an amazing heat, and Ian, Hippo, and Kai all got incredible rides. Obviously, I was bummed not to make it through, but it was such a great day for surfing.

Right after the semi I got a massive one, I haven’t seen any footage or pictures of it, but that was a cool wave. I thought I was going to eat it on takeoff, but I made it to the bottom and sort of lost control, and then I got totally blown up in the worst spot [laughs]. Then, during the final, Twiggy and I were sitting in the channel watching, screaming our heads off at every wave. It was just an amazing event, maybe the best Pe’ahi I’ve ever seen.

Was this from Ian Walsh, the greatest big wave ever surfed?

Was this from Ian Walsh, the greatest big wave ever surfed?

© 2017 – WSL.

There was a bit of a shift in the ratings after this event, with the results and the gold coefficient (which multiplies points due to the size of the waves). You are still in the top five with a shot at the title. How are you feeling there?
You know, I’m a ways back, but the winter season is just starting, and we still have two events at Maverick’s and Nazare, both of which will probably run.

I surfed the season opener at Mavs last week, and before that was in Nazare getting everything dialed and having a couple warm ups.

And there’s already another swell on the long-range forecast for Nazare, so who knows, we could be surfing another contest next week. I love both of those waves, and I’m feeling good, so yeah, I’m excited to see how the rest of the season goes.

And how’s your body feeling?
Well my sternum isn’t 100 percent, but it was fine during the Pe’ahi event, no excuses there. I hurt my ribs and knee a bit on that wipeout after the semi, and also that one I straightened out on during my heat, but nothing too serious.

So I’ll just rest up a bit for a week—I have Cassie and my girls here on Maui, and we are just cruising for another day or two—and then straight back into it.

(C) Towsurfer.com 2017