Mythology of Pipeline
Mecca. The Banzai. The Proving Grounds…Call it what you will, Pipeline is the most significant, most photogenic, most legendary and dangerous wave on planet Earth. It’s also the only wave that can make, break, jumpstart or tear apart a pro surfer’s career because points-wise, you could be the best surfer in the world, but if you don’t excel out at Pipeline…you’re just simply not the full package.
Best on a west or northwest swell and rideable from October through March, Pipeline specifically refers to the left-breaking wave, but also includes Backdoor, the slabby righthander attached to the peak that opens up when the swell comes in from the north/northwest.
Pipeline is made up of a series of reefs. First Reef, a flat lava plateau broken up by a few narrow crevasses is the main break, and Second Reef Pipe is 75 yards out from that, and comes alive when the surf hits 10-12 foot.
Unpredictable, deadly and detonating right off the shoreline, it’s no question why every year at the Pipe Masters, the wave decides champions of the world and legends of our sport. Thus, no wave on earth continually tells more stories, dictates more drama, and perpetuates more lore. The battles between the likes of Kelly Slater and Andy Irons are just as vivid in our collective surf memory today as they were 15 years ago.
As are the iconic images of moments etched on our souls brought to us by Pipe Masters like Occy, Gerry Lopez and elder surf heroes like the late Ronnie Burns and Butch Van Artsdalen.