Surfing: Monster Energy presents ‘The Big Wave Tow-In Invitational’

OAHU — Monster Energy, known for progression and supporting its athletes, is heading to Hawaii to explore the limits of big wave surfing with an invitational event chronicled in a high-profile documentary to be featured on ABC’s World of X Games. Produced and directed by Paul Taublieb of Taublieb Films, a multi Emmy Award-winning studio, The Monster Energy Big Wave Tow-in Invitational will capture the world’s elite of big wave surfers in an expression session on the legendary North Shore of Oahu.

The North Shore is already steeped in big wave surfing history and ranges among the world’s hotbeds of the movement. For the feature film, riders including Monster Energy’s and will take things to the next level by “towing in” behind jet skis — as opposed to relying solely on paddling — for access to some of the most progressive and innovative big wave riding all captured on film.


Filming is set to commence in March 2018 in a secluded spot on the North Shore of Ohau. The crew is currently waiting for big surf — meaning waves above the 20-foot mark — to break.

Dorian and Rothman will be joined by their big wave surfing peers, including Kai Lenny, Mason Ho, Nathan Florence, and Grant “Twiggy” Baker, to explore the limits with a four-to-five hour long expression session.

“Instead of a competition, this will be an in-depth expression session to give the best riders in the world a blank canvas to push the limits with tow-in surfing. Monster Energy is a pioneer of big wave surfing and supports the future, progression, and their athletes in this sport,” said director and producer Taublieb (Taublieb Films), whose merits include winning an Emmy for the 2016 documentary Unchained: The Untold Story of Freestyle Motocross.

Having already captured some of the most iconic big wave surfers on film, Taublieb’s documentary credits include the Emmy Award-winning ESPN 30 for 30 film Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau (2013), the Big Wave Hellmen series for ABC and ESPN (2014), and a number of critically acclaimed action sports television features.

With The Big Wave Tow-in Invitational, the director wants to provide a platform for the sport’s next evolution. “We are not trying to replace paddle-in surfing, but push the boundaries of big wave progression in a way that hasn’t been explored,” said Taublieb.

Participating riders also see tow-in as a way to explore the limits of the sport. “I think that tow-in will always be here and it was created for a reason — to catch waves that weren’t surfable with just surfboards,” said Monster Energy’s Rothman, a Big Wave World Champion and North Shore native. “The difference between paddling into a big wave and towing into a big wave is that it allows for really, really high performance and surfing at the highest level in a big wave.”

With Surfline as the official partner for wave forecasting, invited riders are ready to make history once conditions on the North Shore align. “Having fresh ideas and attacking it from a different angle, this won’t be your typical tow-in surfing that everyone’s seen from 20 years ago,” said big wave legend Shane Dorian, multiple winner of the WSL Big Wave Awards. “It’s definitely going to be a fresh look at high-performance surfing on big waves with small boards going really fast.”

As The Big Wave Tow-in Invitational brings some of the highest-performance surfers into the line-up, expect aerials, hacks, turns, and tube rides on an entirely new level. “Somebody might do the highest alley-oop you can imagine on a 25-foot wave! The sky is the limit,” said Rothman. “It’s about who’s going to be the athlete who sets the bar by doing those moves to push the level of tow-in surfing.”


Taublieb Films will capture the action in a cinematic way with five state-of-the-art RED high-definition cameras. With Taublieb producing and directing, The Big Wave Tow-in Invitational sets out to cover all angles, including heli shots in partnership with Oahu-based Paradise Helicopters. If all goes according to plan, audiences can look forward to seeing the future of big wave riding May 12, 2018, on ABC’s World of X Games.

“I’m stoked about the expression session,” said Lenny. “I think it’s a great opportunity to show another face of big wave surfing. The willingness to go farther and see what maybe nobody has seen before is the exciting part.”