Pipeline Returns to Fierce Form

by on Monday 23rd December, 2013   60212 Visits   Comments

The true Pipeline showed its face last Friday, prompted into action by a rare west swell. Veteran North Shore photographer, Sean Davey, stood transfixed on the sand throughout the the day, providing your weekly quota of mind-blowing Pipe action.

Words and photos by Sean Davey.

The hype has been pretty intense this week with all manner of claims of a monster west swell or two in the works. The previous day they were forecasting 18-30 feet on the news, but with no talk of a potential Eddie. We were left wondering which surf scale to use. It’s strange like that, people will use regular California style measurements all year round, then as soon as it get’s big they float back and forth between the Californian and the local scales. It’s very confusing sometimes. 

Friday morning’s twilight revealed a pretty intense west swell, which was dishing up 2nd reefers with regular consistency. So consistent, that for most of the day it was the in-between waves that were looking the best on Pipe’s famed first reef. The regular 2nd reefers were so west that they were pretty much mushing out. Meanwhile those smaller ones just seemed to focus right onto the 1st reef, delivering up a feast to those who could read the conditions. 

It was pretty apparent that a few Pipe regulars were having difficulty positioning themselves, simply because it’s been so long since we had a true west swell.Sean Davey

It was pretty apparent that a few Pipe regulars were having difficulty positioning themselves, simply because it’s been so long since we had a true west swell. They’ve been quite rare these past couple of years. More crew than ever were having a go at the second reef, but it just wasn’t delivering except for those big mushy walls. 

Jon Jon and Jamie were both pretty dominant which is totally normal. Mason Ho too was having a good time, even catching a couple of big Backdoor beasts. This kid is bringing style back to pro surfing like no other. I think it’s the influence of his dad (Michael Ho) and uncle Derek Ho.

CJ Hobgood caught a couple of decent beasts along with Reef McIntosh and Sunny Garcia who attacked one 2nd reef monster just Like Tommy Carroll would have. It was great power surfing to see.

There’s the promise of more over the next few days, so stay tuned for more Hawaiian goodness.


*Why did this swell forecast cause so much confusion?

We say: Much of the confusion with this storm seems to be the result of misinterpreted swell model data. The westerly swell direction put the North Shore directly in the shadow of Kauai, and different forecasts were producing radically different results, depending on the resolution of their forecast models. Where our 4 mile resolution data was seeing the shadow (and in fact over estimating it – under calling the peak of the swell 7ft@19 vs 9ft@19 on the buoy) models at a coarser resolution were showing 14ft@18 for Waimea – a true reading not far from shore but underestimating the Kauai shadow by about 30%.

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