The Riders of the Maelstrom was a band of pirates that operated near the Maelstrom. The band was led by the notorious pirate Big Jak Targrim. The pirates used the natural features of the Maelstrom to make a profitable business plundering passing ships. Ships were forced to drop out of hyperspace and use their sublight engines while passing through the Maelstrom. The Riders would use this time of vulnerability to attack the passing ships.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Riders were a large, widespread band that faced no opposition outside of the Maelstrom. However, during a sabacc match with the leader of another pirate gang, Rodin Higron, the gang lost the Oasis mining colony. The Riders were suddenly faced with serious competition as Higron's gang set up shop on the Oasis mining colony. When Higron's pirates began to only attack Imperial ships, the Galactic Empire tasked Moff Vanko with protecting Imperial interests in the Maelstrom.
Due to the trouble that Higrom's pirates had brought to the Riders' lucrative business, Targrim vowed to eliminate the rival gang. Targrim's plan for the rival pirates' destruction involved crashing a large ship into Higrom's base of operations. In a stroke of luck, the large passenger cruiseship the Kuari Princess was due to pass through the Maelstrom. The Riders hijacked the ship and locked out any control of the navigational systems. The ship was then sent on a collision course with the planet Oasis. Unfortunately for the Riders, a small Rebel team was able to board the ship and avert the destruction of the ship and its passengers.
The Riders fled the scene of the crime, and most avoided imprisonment, including their leader, Big Jak Targrim. It is unknown how the rivalry between the Riders and Higrom's pirates ended.
- Riders of the Maelstrom (First appearance)