One of the most sought-after surf locations worldwide, Banzai Pipeline, located near Haleiwa Town, hosts some of the most distinguishedand dare-devilish surfing competitions in the world. When large swells of waves hit North Shore Beaches, the reefs at Pipeline generate one of the most unforgiving waves on Earth. Many consider both Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay to be the nuclei of North Shore surf.
Before the 1960s Banzai Pipeline was too dangerous to ride, at least for the professionals at that time. Californian Phil Edwards is noted as the first to ride a wave at the break in 1961, while big-wave pioneer Greg Noll was the first to ride a massive outer reef wave successfully in 1964. The boundary for surfing the Banzai Pipeline was broken in the 1970′s by surfers like Gerry Lopez and Jeff Hakman who used shorter and more maneuverable surfboards to get deeper in the ‘tube’. In 1985 the potential for big-wave surfing and the Banzai Pipeline as a surf spot was taken to a whole new level. Alec Cooke was airlifted via helicopter outside the breaking waves of the Banzai Pipeline and paddled into what is widely considered to be the biggest wave caught at the spot of the time. Today, major surf companies hold annual competitions that continue to raise the bar for surfing skills. The “Pipeline Masters” competition is widely considered to be the crown jewel of the professional surfing season.
Facts & Trivia
- Island: Oahu
- Duration: Drive-by Only
- Insider Tip: December through March is the time of year to see big waves on the North Shore! Pipeline is one of the most crowded surf spots and hosts surf competitions each year.
- Fun Fact: Pipeline refers to the large, thick water that curls into “barrels” that look like hollow pipes.
- What to Expect: Cars with surfboards on the roof, bicyclists with surfboards under their arms, pedestrians with surfboards, surfers and lots of sand!
- Pop Culture: Movie producer Bruce Brown is credited with giving the beach its name. While filming the surf documentary Surfing Hollow Days. At the time, there was a major pipeline project on an underground water main and it was suggested to name the break ‘Pipeline.’