Tow-in surfing versus paddle surfing has been an issue since Derrick Dorner, Buzzy Kerbox, and Laird Hamilton first assisted each other into huge Backyards using a Zodiac during the mid 90’s. I remember Todd Chesser absolutely hating jet ski’s and vowing never to set foot on one, while other big wave chargers like Garret McNamara embraced towing in, and by doing so, reinvented their pro surfing careers.
I’d have to say that paddling into huge waves requires way more work, and takes way more guts, and the end result includes a lot more glory. Towing into huge waves is just a lot more fun, because with a skilled operator, you can zip through the pit of a giant wave and watch it break right in front of without getting caught by it. Also, you can catch almost any wave, and as many waves you want.
This North Shore winter has been throwing us plenty of huge swells to try both, and if you have the option to tow or paddle, it really comes down to your mood.
I would like to know what the general surfing public prefers to see videos and photos of: Paddle or Tow?—Flynn Novak