A professional surfer skips along the bottom of the Bonzai Pipeline wave during the second round of the 2011 Billabong Pipeline Masters first day. The first day of 2011’s competition saw larger than normal waves with swells combining from the north and west to produce wave faces 20- to 30-feet high.
Bonzai Pipeline is the pinnacle of surfing for many surfers around the world. Found on Oahu’s North Shore–dubbed “The 7-Mile Miracle” by surfers because of its ability to produce amazing, big, consistent surf–this wave has all the characteristics sought after by thrill seekers: a pipe to ride inside, huge size, long ride, calm water, offshore breeze, higher chance of injury or death, and worldwide renown.
On this particular day even the professional surfers were taking caution and entering the water with well-placed fears. The power of the wave here easily snaps boards in half, breaks leashes, and generally wreaks havoc on the surfer. Adding even more danger, sharp coral reef sits mere feet below the surface waiting to cut, mangle, or hold under the unlucky. This awesome wave demands, and receives, respect from surfers and onlookers alike.