This past Valentine's weekend, Pipeline outdid itself. Calling this one a few days out, we knew something special was on its way to Hawaii, but it's quite rare that we see so many excellent rides, so much grit and guts, so much non-stop action over back-to-back days that it's kind of left everyone involved a bit dazed. If this is Pipe as it good as it gets, then rest assured this cast of featured protagonists served her well.
Now the curtain has officially dropped on this run of Pacific power over the weekend, a load of images, vids and more were swift to shoot through – and we've curated some of the best images from a Valentine's to remember. This swell began to fill in late Friday, but really amped up throughout Saturday, Sunday and yesterday, culminating in buttery-smooth Pipe conditions as well as a few standout performances over the weekend at Haleiwa and Waimea, too.
Right before dusk on Saturday [Feb 13], Brit legend Tom Lowe pulled into one of the taller, wider barrels at Pipe over the past few days. The way that section folds at exactly the right time, enveloping Lowey, is testament that Pipe has a heart, letting the Nazare and Mullaghmore standout shoot through a sketchy yet magnificent cavern. To expertly navigate that shifting landscape takes some doing. It was one of many, many rides suited for a Wave of the Winter shoutout.
Of course, all the Pipe regulars are here, John John Florence [who surfed a blinder], Koas Rothman and Smith, Eli Olson and Griffin Colapinto who scored this incredible ride below and more.
On the ground was lensman Miah Klein, who has been documenting Pipeline for the better part of two decades – always seeking fresh perspectives. And as this swell rolled through, Miah positioned himself to get angles like you haven't seen before.
Swimming out at Pipe to nab the in-action shots was young lensman Jon Reiter. “It was amazing out there,” he tells MSW. “It's arguably the best swell of the season. Second reef roll ins often cleaned the lineup – including us photographers. And there could be more on the way.”
"The swell originated from a low that formed east of Japan last Monday Feb 8," said MSW forecaster Tony Butt. "The system deepened quickly as it moved northeast towards the Aleutian Islands, and then stalled for about 36 hours just south of the Aleutians.
An area of storm-force winds on its southern flank generated a pulse of northwest swell heading for the Islands. The low then shifted northwest and weakened, while an area of high pressure persisted between Hawaii and California, with Hawaii coming under the influence of easterly winds on its southwest flank.
"The first long-period forerunners began to arrive on Friday, with clean conditions and wave heights gradually increasing to five or six feet by the end of the day. On Saturday, the swell really filled in, hitting ten feet at exposed spots by midday, with moderate easterly winds. Over the next two days the swell gradually ramped down, with very clean conditions throughout. Winds on Sunday were moderate to fresh east or southeast, becoming light a variable on Monday.
“The swell increased overnight and pumped all day Saturday, hitting ten feet at exposed spots, with moderate east or southeast winds. The swell saw a gradual decrease in wave heights yesterday and into today but local conditions remain very good with light to moderate south-easterlies becoming light and variable.”
Oh and bonus, if you wondering what Kai Lenny was up to during this run of swell, here's your answer. We've got more on the way too.