Any activity we do in life carries a certain danger, and surfing is not going to be an exception.
Pipeline, the most challenging wave in the world, tests the courage and technical skill of a surfer. But more importantly Pipeline measures the surfer’s instinct, being a wave that requires being in a fine line between the take-off to the limit, getting in and out of the barrel, or going to the reef with terrible consequences.
Located on the north shore of Oahu, Pipeline is the deadliest wave in the world. Incredibly, powerful waves break meters from the shore in an irregular coral reef that breaks with deep and prolonged cracks. The wave has been surfing since the early 60s and tragedies have been happening since the beginning. Ironically, the most dangerous days are not when the surf is bigger, but rather when it is on the way. Despite the risks, surfers from around the world flock to the north shore of Oahu each year to challenge what is possibly the most dangerous wave in the known world.
No matter how prepared you are, the attitude and skills that you have the misfortunes occur and we have to assume them. But at the same time it is essential to minimize the risks, know our limits well and never try to transfer them without the adequate conditions. You need to be able to handle yourself in a lot of life-threatening situations. You definitely need to be able to hold your breath and stay calm under pressure when you’re faced with… who knows what. More than likely you will eat shit on your first one. Staying calm during a violent beating, and having some kind of physical, cardiovascular training is key.
Hopefully, you have some kinda wave in your hometown or nearby, that’s a solid, barrelling wave and has a really quick, steep takeoff, and you find yourself being comfortable in those kinda environments. But, there’s no other wave like it where you have these waves moving in so fast, jacking up from second reef, then they hit that first reef, and it just jacks up so quickly, and next thing you know you’re finding yourself in the lip or underneath the lip, and who knows what’s happening, but it’s all happening so quickly. So, master any waves nearby that are similar. In the end, people always say, “It’s just like Pipeline,” but really, there’s no other wave like Pipeline.
Spend time on the beach, watching and observing the wave, seeing where the waves are coming in and which ones are good. It’s not like you’re gonna go out there and have a choice of which waves you wanna get, but at least you’ll know which ones are good, and where they’re actually coming in at. And, try to find yourself with some kind of a lineup or a gauge of where to be. Then, when you’re out there, sit on the shoulder for a while and watch. And, wait for a window when you can get out there when it’s a little less crowded.
I’d definitely recommend going in late February through March when it’s not such a scene, when you don’t have the entire surfing world there, and you can actually get a few waves under your belt and not get yourself into a situation where you find yourself getting a terrible wipeout or dropping in on somebody.