Banzai Pipeline, or simply “Pipeline” as it is known among surfers, is a legendary surf break located on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. Known for its powerful waves and thick barrels, Pipeline is considered the ultimate challenge for experienced surfers looking to push their skills to the limit. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take a closer look at the history of Pipeline, the competition that takes place there, how to navigate the lineup, the dangers of surfing Pipeline, how to get there, and the best conditions for catching the ultimate wave.
Surfing Banzai Pipeline
When surfing Banzai Pipeline, it’s important to have experience with powerful waves and reef breaks. The wave is a left-hand reef break, meaning it breaks over a shallow coral reef. As you paddle out, it’s important to take note of the currents and the positioning of other surfers in the lineup. Respect for the locals and surf etiquette is essential to avoid conflicts in the water. To catch a wave, position yourself further out in the lineup than other surfers, and be patient. The ideal spot to catch a wave is near the peak of the wave, where it is the steepest.
As you catch the wave, try to drop in late to maximize the size of the barrel. It’s important to stay low and maintain speed to avoid getting caught in the lip of the wave. Once inside the barrel, it’s important to stay focused and maintain your line. Pipeline is known for its thick barrels, which can be difficult to navigate. As you exit the barrel, try to kick out before reaching the shallow reef.
Potential Mistakes to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced surfers at Pipeline is paddling out through the wrong channel. The safest channel to use is on the right side of the wave, which leads to the lineup. Paddling out through the left channel can put you in the direct path of oncoming waves, which can be dangerous.
Another mistake to avoid is being too deep on the wave. Pipeline is known for its steep drops, and dropping in too deep can lead to getting caught in the lip of the wave, which can be dangerous. You need to catch it basically under the ledge to ride it properly. It’s important to time your drop in correctly and maintain your speed to avoid getting caught in the lip.
Finally, it’s important to respect the locals and the priority rules in the lineup. Cutting in front of other surfers or not waiting your turn can lead to conflicts in the water. It’s important to be patient and wait for your turn to catch a wave.
History of Pipeline
Banzai Pipeline first gained popularity in the 1970s when surfers discovered its powerful waves. Pipeline quickly became known as one of the most dangerous waves in the world due to its shallow reef and powerful waves. Over the years, many professional surfers have made their name at Pipeline, including Gerry Lopez, Tom Carroll, Kelly Slater, and John John Florence. The wave has also been featured in many surf movies, including “The Endless Summer” and “Riding Giants.”
Competition at Pipeline
The Pipe Masters is the most prestigious surf competition held at Pipeline each year. The competition attracts the best surfers from around the world, including past champions Kelly Slater and John John Florence. The event is the final leg of the Triple Crown of Surfing and is considered one of the most important events in professional surfing. The competition is held in December, which is considered the peak season for surfing at Pipeline.
Navigating the Lineup at Pipeline
Navigating the lineup at Pipeline can be challenging due to the large number of experienced surfers and the powerful waves. Respect for the locals and surf etiquette is essential to avoid conflicts in the water. To enter the lineup, surfers must paddle out through a channel on the right side of the wave. Once in the lineup, surfers must wait their turn and respect the priority rules. The wave has a shallow reef, which can be dangerous if surfers fall off their board.
Dangers of Pipeline
Banzai Pipeline is known for its powerful waves and shallow reef, which can be dangerous for inexperienced surfers. The wave is considered one of the most challenging in the world and requires advanced surfing skills and experience to surf safely. The shallow reef can cause serious injuries if surfers fall off their board, and the powerful waves can lead to hold-downs, which can be dangerous if the surfer cannot reach the surface in time. The crowded lineup can also lead to collisions and conflicts between surfers.
Getting to Pipeline
Banzai Pipeline is located on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The easiest way to get to Pipeline is by renting a car or taking a tour. The drive from Honolulu takes about an hour, depending on traffic. Parking can be challenging during peak season, so it’s important to arrive early. The wave is located near the Ehukai Beach Park, which is a popular spot for watching surfers ride the wave.
Best Conditions for Pipeline
The best conditions for surfing Banzai Pipeline are during the winter months, from November to February. The wave is most consistent during this time and can reach up to 20+ feet in size. The ideal wind direction is northeast, which creates clean and hollow waves. An incoming tide is ideal for catching the best waves. Surf reports are available online and can help surfers plan their trip to Pipeline. It’s important to note that surfing Pipeline requires advanced surfing skills and experience and is not recommended for inexperienced surfers.
Check out our Surf Report here!
Wave Name: Banzai Pipeline, aka “Pipeline”
Location: North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Wave Type: Left-hand reef break
Wave Size: Can reach up to 20+ feet
Best Surf Conditions: November to February, northeast winds, incoming tide
Difficulty Level: Expert – Pipeline is considered one of the most challenging waves in the world and requires advanced surfing skills and experience to surf safely. The shallow reef, powerful waves, and crowded lineup can make surfing Pipeline dangerous for inexperienced surfers.
In conclusion, Banzai Pipeline is the ultimate challenge for experienced surfers who want to push their skills to the limit. With its powerful waves, thick barrels, and competitive atmosphere, surfing Pipeline is not for the faint of heart. But for those who are brave enough to tackle the wave, the rewards can be incredible. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice surfer, Pipeline is a must-see destination for anyone who loves the sport of surfing. So grab your board, head to the North Shore of Oahu, and experience the rush of surfing the world’s most famous wave. But always remember, respect the locals, follow surf etiquette, and stay safe in the water.