The World’s Most Famous Waves – What is the Pipeline?

As we have already seen, surfing has its own language and all those who wish to be part of this world and lifestyle should familiarize themselves with these words from the language of surfers and surfers.

In our surf school lanzarote this is very important for us, since developing all this vocabulary will allow us to bond even more in this beautiful and rewarding area called surfing.

We’ll tell you what Pipeline or simply Pipe means, so you don’t look surprised the next time you hear the word.

What is the Pipeline or Pipe?

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Aerial photography of Ehukai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.

When we refer to Pipeline in the world of surfing we are talking about a wave, one of the most famous in the world.

You will be able to enjoy it in all its splendour by travelling to Hawaii; specifically, you must get to the island of Oahu.

Pipeline is a spectacular wave that breaks at Ehukai beach, in Oahu.

This magnificent island receives many surfing fans who come willing to ride and conquer this famous wave to fill themselves with glory and fame, even at the cost of their lives, as there have been several surfers who have perished trying to conquer Pipeline.

History of Pipeline

Historical records tell us that in December 1961, surfer Phil Edwards first surfed this impressive wave, in the place that until then was known as Benzai Beach. Bruce Brown, a filmmaker, captured the moment and the feat for posterity.

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Historical photograph taken by Bruce Brown – Phil Edwards surfing a pipeline for the first time.

It was a day of nameless 4 foot waves and Phil made the big time.

Mike Diffenderfer was a moulder or modeler who kept Phil and Bruce company on their trip to Hawaii and was the one who made the comment that the wave Phil had ridden reminded him of some concrete pipes he had seen in a nearby building.

Pipe is English for “pipe”; that’s where the idea of calling the wave “Pipeline” came from.

Pipeline is a thick, hollow wave that breaks in shallow water over the coral reef; it is highly dangerous and has several fatalities in its accident record.

How is the Pipeline formed?

As we all know, the islands that make up Hawaii are located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, being visited by large swells.

However, its northern coast is the one that, due to its geographical orientation, receives a greater amount of this type of phenomena such as swells and large swells that arrive during the winter season from the north.

Only swells coming from the west are blocked.

The ideal swell to form the Pipeline waves, has special characteristics such as a medium or high period and a west component direction between 295 and 330 degrees.

The swell from the open sea, as it approaches the coast finds a sudden decrease in depth of about 20 to 25 meters.

In addition, the peculiar and characteristic shape of the seabed, located just in the front area, favours the sea energy to be refracted directly towards that area of the reef.

These situations and characteristics make the waves that arrive at the coast have unique characteristics and become the Pipeline.

In the following video shot on the Skeleton Coast, a stretch of the west coast of Africa located in Namibia, we can see first hand what it’s like to surf a pipeline wave. Surely more than one will be left with their mouths open when watching the video, come in and see for yourselves.

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What is so special about this wave?

Pipeline is perhaps the most dangerous wave in the world, however it attracts many sportsmen and tourists and even in the area a master surfing championship is held every year.

The fame of this wave is not only given by the perfect tubes it forms, but also by how cruel and harmful the seabed where it breaks can be, made of reefs and volcanic rock formations, does not forgive those who have the misfortune to crash into them.

The curiosity it arouses is very contrasting; it is a perfect formation made by nature and it is an unforgettable experience to see the surfers go up and conquer it; but it can also leave death and desolation.

Every year, in the winter season with the swells of the time, the Pipe Masters is held, a championship where the best surfers in the world come together, ready to take on the challenge, even risking their lives in order to conquer the Pipeline and obtain their immortal passage.

Pipeline is a myth, a wave with perfect pipes, not exempt from the cruelty of ending some lives since its conquest began.

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Photography where we can appreciate a surfer taking a pipeline.

Finally, we can tell you that if you are an adventurous surfer who wants to take and tame a pipeline wave, take it easy and insist on practicing a lot. Thanks to the surf camp lanzarote taught in our school you will be able to practice and develop this technique, along with many others in an optimal way until you achieve your own goal.

[symple_tabgroup][symple_tab title=”Initiation”] Surf camp famaraInitiation“: from 215 euros/person. From 3 to 14 nights accommodation
[/symple_tab][symple_tab title=”Beginner”] Surf camp famaraBeginner“: from 215 euros/person. From 3 to 14 nights accommodation
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