The big Pipeline swell that rolled through on Friday Feb. 8, was some fo the best waves Pipe has seen so far this winter. Starting out at first reef, and finishing the day with scary third reef bombs, the Banzai turned on for some of the most epic surf there yet. The boys were all out and just scoring nuggets all day. There was some carnage, after all this is still Pipe, but in between the jaw breaking rides, there was still plenty of jaw dropping rides as well.
Pipeline has a reputation as one of the most dangerous waves in the world. The main wave at Pipeline is a left that breaks over a very shallow and treacherous reef. The right at Pipe is called “Backdoor” and can be even more dangerous at times. Pipeline pitches really quickly as the wave moves over first reef, making for some intense late drops straight into the barrel. On massive swells, the takeoff zone can move to second reef, which is a lot further out, and to the south; here the wave is generally more crumbly until it hits first reef and turns into a racetrack. On the biggest of days, Pipe breaks way out in the middle of the ocean at what is called third reef. It is also one of the most famous waves in the world, and all the pros eventually go there to prove their surfing abilities. Pipe is strictly for experts only. Every time it is breaking, there is a big crowd on it, most of whom are locals or visiting pros, so paddling out at Pipe can be intimidating. If you do paddle out and are able to scratch your way into a wave, you can be certain that getting spit out of a Pipeline barrel will be the thrill of a lifetime.
Pipeline breaks on most directions and sizes, but is best on a mid-sized west or northwest swell. Most days of the year the easterly trade winds are blowing, which provide pretty good offshore winds for Pipeline. A slightly lighter wind tends to make Pipe work the best. Every so often, the North Shore will get Kona winds from the south that can really mess things up on the North Shore and at Pipe.
Check out this insane video from Friday