Every winter, a circus of surfers, supporters, sponsors and spectators flock to Oahu’s North Shore for the Triple Crown of Surfing. They move from town to town, or in this case, surf break to surf break – setting up and breaking down in what seems like one swift motion. From Haleiwa to Sunset to Pipeline, the Triple Crown dazzles everyone with elite surfing from around the globe.
It’s one of those must-see shows you don’t want to miss. Big-wave surfing at its finest, with only the best of the best stepping into the ocean ring for a show-stopping performance. Fellow teammates and sponsors cheer from the Pipeline Palaces, while the regular folk sit along the sandy shoreline under the Big Top of expansive skies.
The final stop at Pipe, however, is by far the most exciting of the contest because not only is it the perfect wave, but it’s also among the most dangerous on the planet. It has taken more lives than any other wave and slams surfers into the shallow slab of reef without holding back. Broken surfboards wash up to shore as frequent as the injured. Pipe has no remorse.
But none of this has stopped watermen and women from braving this iconic wave. To them, the allure of perfectly hollow barrels seems worth the brutal beatings, as they vie to be the next Pipe Master. It’s the most prestigious title in surfing that has been given to highly respected surfers around, like Kelly Slater and Gerry Lopez.
See what all the hype’s about next time you’re in the islands. The holding period for the Pipe Masters starts during the first few weeks of December and only runs when the waves are big enough. And if they’re really big (like 40-plus-feet), then you might also get to watch the Eddie Aikau big wave invitational down the road at Waimea Bay.
Photo Credit: Noa Myers