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Pipeline Palaces for Surfing Elite

With world-class surf on Oahu’s North Shore comes world-class real estate. Just several yards from renowned surfbreaks, like Pipeline and Backdoor, multimillion-dollar mansions compete with million-dollar views of paradise – sunsets, whales and all.

One of two Volcom houses in front of the world’s finest surfing arena on North Shore, Oahu.

And when the winter waves start firing ‘round mid-November, there’s sure to be a crowd of spectators who plant themselves on the soft, pillowy sand in front of the Pipeline palaces. They’re ready to watch the big-wave spectacle and spend the day lounging on beach mats, oohing and aahing at the glory of barrel after barrel. Not a care in the world nor a second thought of who might live in those mansions behind them.

During the past couple of decades, major surf brands – like Volcom, Billabong and Rip Curl – have dropped in to the revered stretch of coastline, making these mansions their home away from home; a headquarters of sorts for team riders, coaches and supporters who travel from abroad. Some companies (like Volcom) chose to buy beach houses in front of the world’s finest surf arena, while others rent and pay up to $20,000 a month, according to an article by Surfer Today.

World champions, like Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning, become instant celebs when they’re in town; they’re the big dogs in pro surfing and really get heads turning with their huge alley oops and down-the-line speed (and good looks). Even tourists hope to get a quick glimpse or InstaPic of them. Hashtag HotSurferDudes.

And as if this star treatment isn’t enough, pro surfers live like royalty when they’re in the islands. King-size beds, flatscreen TVs and extensive game rooms in their 3,000+ square-feet palaces. Not to mention, the winter barbecues and surf party shindigs happening all season long.

But when the waves are going off, it seems everyday is a party at these Pipeline palaces. You’ll hear people cheering from the second or third story decks, as they watch a teammate get shacked. The two Volcom houses might be the most distinguishable because they sandwich the public access to Pipe. Huge Volcom stone logos hanging from the decks are also a dead giveaway.

Catering to this crowd has become big business for the island, as the professional surfing scene continues to swell with the annual hype of the Vans Triple Crown. This is like the Olympics of surfing, a traveling circus of huge corporate surf teams, surf journalists and surf fans. Big white tents and colorful judging towers pop up at each contest site, while photographers line the beach with nothing smaller than a 800mm telephoto zoom lens attached to already expensive camera gear. What a scene it is!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Nov 29, 2012