Pipeline & Backdoor Spot Guide

About Pipeline & Backdoor

Backdoor was somewhat ignored during Pipeline's first golden days in the 1970s. It makes you wonder how many heaving barrels roared right off the peak before everyone kind of clicked on it. The wave relies on a slight breaking up of swell lines from the northwest (shorter to mid period swells are best, of a swell combo) and a thin channel between the Pipe reef and Off-The-Wall. The broken swell allows a tapering wall, which hits square on the shallowest part of first reef and creates an intense and very hollow, deep tube. Further inside, the reef gets shallower and actually pokes itself above the waterline here and there. Dealing properly with the finish of a ride is very important, as it will often end as a powerful closeout. This is even more the case on larger days, when the unwary surfer might come out of the tube, start paddling, and be faced with a several closeouts sections on the head over very shallow and sharp reef -- one of the North Shore's scariest moments. This is especially true upon completion on the first wave of a set, and during the more westerly swells where the current is pulling you across the impact zone of Backdoor and then inside of Pipe. If caught in this situation, either paddle in to the beach or go with the current and paddle over to the channel next to Pipe to get back out.

Source: Pipeline & Backdoor Surf Guide

Ability Level


Beg Int Adv

When its pumping, then advanced level only. Intermediates can dabble when it's small.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Humility and respect a must.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Heavy when its on, but usually a notch less than Pipe when Pipe is also working.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Offers some of the best and most hollow, deep tubes on the planet. Getting spit out of the barrel is a regular occurrence here.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Not a far paddle out, but there can be a lot of water moving around during solid swells, closeouts on your head trying to get back out, a lot of jockeying for position, and simply trying to get into the wave itself can be challenging.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Clean. Beautiful, clear, blue water.

Additional Information


Shallow reef, the wave, and the locals.


Easy: Park at Ehukai Beach Park parking lot or along Kam Highway where authorized.

Bring Your

Shortboard, bodyboard, bodysurfing



Best Season


Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos