As I mentioned last week – the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing started November 12th and runs through December 20th. Surfline has an excellent preview of the events and who to watch. The first contest is the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park. The contest was off yesterday to allow surfers to attend Kauai’s Final Farewell to Andy Irons.
Billabong Pipeline Masters
The premier event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is the third and final contest the Billabong Pipeline Masters – a place that AI (among others) was famous for surfing – which runs from December 8th through the 20th allowing organizers to select the best surfing conditions. Taj Burrow won the event last year beating Kelly Slater in the final. Winning the Pipe Masters is the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl.
The Dangers of Pipeline
Pipeline is one of the most famous and dangerous surf spots on the planet having claimed more lives than any other surf spot in the world. Pipe attracts surfers from around the world because of the famous wave shape, power, and often perfect conditions. When Pipe is pumping and conditions are perfect the lineup is packed with surfers and photogs hoping for an incredible ride and photo like this:
Photo via freaksurfmag.com
Don’t be fooled by the beautiful blue-green water, perfect barrels and how easy some surfers make it look. Just feet below the surface is a not so friendly coral reef which has caused countless injuries and a number of deaths. Some deaths occur from surfers hitting their head on the reef and others have been known to get caught in the caves of the reef (seriously). Below are a couple of photos by Sean Davey showing how shallow the water is and the dangerousness of the reef:
Photo via seandavey.com
Photo via seandavey.com
Surfing Pipeline and Backdoor at low tide can be even more dangerous as the reef is even closer to the surface. Surf photographer Daniel Russo took some photos of Pipeline at low tide showing and explaining the dangers. Russo points out a double up and boils on the surface created by the reef.
It’s amazing how easy some people make it look to surf at Pipeline considering just how dangerous and difficult it is. The shallow reef combined with a good swell and the right conditions can create perfect waves at Ehukai Beach Park:
I’ll try to keep you updated on when the Billabong Pipe Masters is running and share other highlights from this winter on the North Shore.