By Bennie Seybold, special to Corona del Mar Today
The North Shore of Hawaii During Christmas Time
The Pipeline Masters Surf Competition
Every year starting in the beginning of December, one of the most anticipated surf competitions of the year happens at the infamous surf spot Pipeline. Surfers from all over the world come to Hawaii just to watch this event. Pipeline is perfect reef break that offers not only flawless, barreling lefts, but also a steep, heavy right. These perfect waves come at a cost, though. Pipeline breaks into a mere 4-5 feet of water and under that water is a jagged, unforgiving reef that has injured even the most experienced surfers.
This year, Julian Wilson of Australia took the pipe masters title in an intense final. The victory came down to the last 10 seconds of the surfing heat when a huge, perfect set rolled in. Julian Wilson took the first wave of the set to pull ahead of Gabriel Medina and medina took the second of wave of the set but wasn’t able to regain his lead. As the heat ended, the crowd on the beach erupted with excitement and carried Julian to the podium where he claimed the infamous Pipeline Masters trophy and the $100,000 check that goes along with it.
Advice for Advanced Surfers Surfing the North Shore for the First Time
I flew out to the fabled North Shore of Oahu this past week on a surf trip to score some epic waves. I am an advanced surfer who is used to big waves and sketchy conditions, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I arrived. I knew of a couple breaks that I wanted to go out at but was a little reluctant to just pull up to the beach and paddle out. Also, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to catch waves because I had heard the locals were very protective. Through a lot of searching, socializing, and trial and error, I found some dreamy surf spots where I was able get the waves of my life. Here are some things I learned while exploring the breaks of the North shore that may help you .
1. When going out to a new surf spot, always talk to the lifeguard. Ask him about possible hazards such as rocks, hidden reefs, and if the break is safe enough to surf on that particular day. Unlike Newport, most of the good surf spots in Hawaii break over sharp, merciless reefs. If you aren’t aware where these reefs are, you could find yourself getting thrown onto the razor sharp coral, ending your surf trip right then and there.
2. Make sure to bring a board adequate for the size of the surf. Before you leave on your trip, check Surfline to see what the waves are going to be like when you are there. The last thing you want to happen is the waves be 15 feet and the only board you brought was you 5’7″ everyday short board.
3. Talk to the locals in the lineup. One of my biggest fears when paddling out at Sunset Beach with 13-16 foot waves was not the giant surf but rather the locals. I was under the impression that they were hostile to most people visiting form outside of Hawaii. This could not be farther from the truth. The locals are very kind and as long as you don’t take their waves and cut them off, they are some of the nicest people out there. Also, the locals have firsthand knowledge about the surf spot and can give you tips and also warn you about hidden dangers.
The North Shore is all that you have ever dreamed of and more. The waves are mental, the people are interesting, and the overall beauty of the stretch of coastline is breathtaking. Following these tips can save you from a lot of extra work when visiting not only the North Shore but also surf spots around world.