One of the most famous breaks in the world – The Banzai Pipeline, or simply “Pipeline” or “Pipe,”. Pipeline is the reef break in Hawaii, off Sunset Beach Park in Pupukea on O’ahu’s North Shore.
Underwater caves, shallow reef, hollow and explosive waves, but on the plus side it is sunny and warm so not all so bad 🙂
The reef at Pipeline is a flat topped reef, with loads of caverns on the inside. It is this underwater landscape that creates a giant air bubble that can pop up on the front of the wave and lurches up just before breaking. It’s also hides jagged lava spires that can cause serious injury to the fallen.
Pipeline isn’t just one wave – the break has 4 different waves.
The left known as Pipeline (a.k.a. First Reef) is the most commonly surfed and photographed. When the reef is hit by a north swell, the peak (the highest tipping-point of the wave where it begins to curl) becomes an A-frame shaped wave, with Pipe closing out a bit and peeling off left, and the equally famous Backdoor Pipeline peeling away to the right at the same time.
As the size at Pipe increases, over 12 feet usually, Second Reef on the outside (further out into the deeper ocean waters) starts breaking, with longer walls (the unbroken face of the wave that the surfer slides across), and more size.
At an extreme size an area called Third Reef even further outside starts to break with giant waves.