On a big swell day–some of us mere mortals may even call it a huge swell day–the Pipeline surf break on Oahu’s North Shore displayed the reason for its name. As the waves built up to double and triple overhead professional surfers took to the water in competition to catch and ride some of these gargantuans.
Not many of us intentionally put ourselves in front of thousands of pounds of falling water just a few feet above sharp and cavernous coral reef. That is why the people who surf at pipeline are set apart. They are among a tiny percentage of people on the planet who know the thrill, fear, pain, and joy of carving down a two-story high blue-green face of water, being enveloped by it, and coming out the other side.