Pipemasters is the equivalent of the superbowl of surf contests. With it’s death defying steep, barreling waves, it can test the best surfers in the world and even take their lives as this wave explodes on a reef that is less than 10 feet below the surface.
I flew in on the red eye from Maui the night before the contest, woke up, caffeined up, and jammed to the northshore at 6 am. The surf forecast had said it was going to be 15-18 feet, so I was motivated to beat the crowds and see first hand Pipeline doing it’s thing. I was literally speechless when I walked past the bandstands and saw both 1st and even 2nd reef peeling waves the size of two story buildings. At one point I heard the announcer say that this was the biggest pipemasters event in ten years.
This year I had followed the Men’s ASP world tour on our local cable channel; I was excited to see a contest live, and I must say I was a bit star struck by all the pros. They were constantly barraged by kids, tv camera’s, tourist, and they even had bouncers around them wearing bright yellow shirts that said, “Protection Specialist”. On the water, they were ocean warriors in 15 foot seas, and on land they were treated like rock stars. Ironically the event was presented by Rockstar energy drink.
During the finals I saw a very unusual mermaid sighting at the end of the beach. Low and behold, Lila Roo had washed up in her gorgeous mermaid tail. Photographers, lifeguards, and kids were flocking towards her as she sunbathed in her hand sown tail. One little girl in particular sunbathed next to Lila until the rain started down pouring at the end of the finals.