The day started off quite gloomy and although the surf was finally well and truly back, it had a serve case of what the locals call morning sickness. It was massive and the sand was still stuck on Gummies reef next to Pipe, making paddling out a hit-and-miss affair.
With that in mind I decided to stick with my original plan of hanging some more canvasses at Luibueno's restaurant in Haleiwa and scopping the surf on the way back. By the time I returned to Pipe there were about a dozen hardcore surfers spread across a really large lineup, including all three Pipe reefs. Yeah, there was even a crew sitting way out to sea on 3rd Reef.
I first tried to shoot it from the Rockpile end of the beach, but way too many of the waves were being blocked by foamy mountains rolling through the foreground, so instead I headed down to Pupukea sandbar, just past Pipe, so that I could shoot back up the beach and into the pit. It was a bit of a spectacle with the raw energy still very abundant, not to mention numerous wipeouts and beatdowns.
I was impressed to see that Mick Fanning was one of the early crew amongst it. You don't normally see the ASP elite testing the water on these bigger, gnarlier, days. Also other notables out here were: Gabe Medina, Bruno Santos, Flynn Novak, CJ Hobgood and Kalani Chapman to name just a handful.
A dark front of clouds arrived and I decided to leave just before midday, with a mind to return a couple of hours later, but I never did go back due to the worsening light and extreme traffic. It took me a half hour just to get from Pipe to V-land and with no chance of decent light, I let it slide.
Photos and words, Sean Davey