The Banzai Pipeline, or simply “Pipeline” or “Pipe,” is a surf reef break located in Hawaii, off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea on O’ahu’s North Shore. A reef break is an area in the ocean where waves start to break once they reach the shallows of a reef. Pipeline is notorious for huge waves which break in shallow water just above a sharp and cavernous reef, forming large, hollow, thick curls of water that surfers can tube ride. There are three reefs at Pipeline in progressively deeper water further out to sea that activate according to the increasing size of approaching ocean swells.
Numerous surfers and photographers have been killed at Pipe, including Jon Mozo and Tahitian Malik Joyeux, who was famous for his heavy charging (gutsy surfing) at Teahupo’o. Pipeline is often considered the world’s deadliest wave. Its average wave is 9 feet (3 m), but can be larger. Many more people have died or been seriously injured at Pipeline than at any other surf spot.
The takeoff zone (the area in which a surfer needs to be in order to catch a wave) at Pipeline is small, but a large number of surfers tend to congregate there when it is breaking large. Established local surfers consequently work together to limit non-locals’ access to the waves
Among the many notable surfers to earn a reputation surfing the Pipeline are Butch Van Artsdalen, Jock Sutherland, Gerry Lopez, Mike Stewart, Shaun Tomson, Mark Richards, Michael Ho, Simon Anderson, Andrew Ocean, Jack Lindholm, Tom Carroll, Sunny Garcia, Kelly Slater, Kainoa McGee, Jamie O’Brien, Rob Machado, Tamayo Perry, Andy Irons, Sion Milosky, John John Florence, Jeff Hubbard, and Spencer Skipper.
The top surfing competitions at this spot include the Pipe Masters (Board Surfing), the Volcom Pipe Pro, the IBA Pipeline Pro (Bodyboarding), and the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic.
Shaun Tomson 1977 world champion from South Africa, Mark Richards four time 1979-1982 world champion from Australia, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew 1978 world champion from Australia and Peter Townend (surfer), 1976 world champion from Australia earned reputations surfing Off-The-Wall and Backdoor at a time when competitive surfing was coming of age. Off-The-Wall, and Backdoor are “the rights on the other side of Pipeline” – Randy Rarick, Director of Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing quoted from the movie Bustin’ Down The Door