Maui Sports

Roberson Brothers Talk About Big Wave Future

August 12, 2017, 7:32 AM HST
* Updated October 18, 3:14 PM
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Maui Now sat down with Justin, Eric, and Steve Roberson, the two 11-year-old twins and nine-year-old that are ripping it up in the water and have plans to surf some of the world’s biggest waves.

The brothers started surfing when they were two years old, learning from their dad and pro-surfer Kaleo Roberson at their home break, Ho‘okipa.

These boys are tough and have gained a lot of experience and major respect out in the water. From surfing waves twice their size to encounters with sharks, these boys are fearless.

When asked what the biggest or scariest wave they ever caught, Eric said, “probably at Honolua on a big day, it was probably like 6-foot back, 12-foot front.” Keep in mind, these boys are about 4’10”. For Baby Steve, he said his was at Honolua Bay too and the wave he surfed was about 8-feet measured from the back, almost three times his size.


Named after Maui surf legends Steve Cooney, Justin Roberson, and Eric Diaz, the boys have done a good job living up to their names. The boys are already getting barreled, doing airs and attempting backside reverses.


Their inspiration? Justin and Steve say their favorite surfer is O‘ahu native Mason Ho because “he’s good at surfing and I like all his claims and barrel riding,” said Steve. “He does all the weird tricks and floaters and crosses his feet, he’s just really good at surfing,” Justin added about Ho. Eric told us that Clay Marzo was his favorite because “he’s goofy and good.”

The boys said that they’ve been dreaming of surfing Jaws for years. They even write a letter to mom, Tiare Roberson, every year asking her to let them surf the notorious big wave spot. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Pe‘ahi or “Jaws,” the wave can max out around 80-feet in the winter if the conditions are right.

“I want to surf it in one year but my mom won’t let me, but my dad will,” Eric said. Baby Steve has bigger ambitions, “I want to do the same as him, but I want to do it earlier than him so I’m the youngest kid to surf Jaws ever,” he said. Justin also said he wants to surf Jaws by next year “when it’s small, when it’s big, but small for Jaws.”


Every year hundreds of surfers paddle out at Jaws, providing some of the best big waves of the year and some of the worse wipe-outs as well. Paddling in at the spot was considered impossible up until a few years ago, and in the past, surfers were “towed-in” by jet-skis. The brothers are already prepping themselves for that big day, once mom approves. Steve said he practiced getting towed-in at Maliko on his birthday with dad.

Proving how fearless these boys really are, they recently had an encounter with a five-foot shark at Ho‘okipa earlier this week. The boys were diving when someone warned them of a shark. Their dad Kaleo jumped into action and threw rocks near the shark to distract it away from the boys. The boys said they believe it was the same shark that they unintentionally captured earlier this summer and released.

Back in October 2014, the boys had another shark incident at Māʻalaea while surfing with their dad. A 12-14 foot tiger shark swam up to Kaleo and his boys while waiting for a wave, once again, dad jumped into action and shoved his surfboard into the sharks mouth. After safely pushing the boys back into shore on a wave, he grabbed another man from the water and paddled back in.

From big waves to shark encounters to hanging with the best surfers in the world, these boys have already done and seen what most of us haven’t even experienced in our lifetime, and they’re not even teenagers yet.

All three boys say they plan on being on the World Tour in the future, Baby Steve added that he wants to be on the Big Wave Tour too.

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