Pipeline

8 Dec 2011 0 Share

Words, video & images by Anthony Walsh

Its show time! The third and final Triple Crown event, Pipe is always the focus of the Hawaiian season. This year we’ve got great swell forecast for the first couple of days of the waiting period and it’s looking like the contest may well run straight up.

Few know the wave as well as local charger and current Triple Crown leader John John Florence.

"You pretty much paddle out in front of backdoor and the current will suck you east to the channel at Pipe or the Gums area,” noting the vicious sweep that runs down the beach. “The best swell is big and from the west. That’s when Pipeline is perfect. The best winds are from the southeast or east. When the swell gets more north, Backdoor starts working. Then there are swells that come straight in. Backdoor and Off The Wall are a lot bigger then, and Pipe which tends to shrink quickly."

The contest looks like it’ll kick off Friday (Australian time) with a large northwest swell. If it’s to big then Saturday will be the go. The swell should hang in for the better of two days maybe three. If they can't finish it then, next week shows some promise too.

So what do you need to take on the world’s most famous left? When Pipe and Backdoor starts to break up to the four-to-five foot mark, you don’t need a huge board. Something like a step-up 6'2” will do. Under five feet, Pipe only just starts to barrel but you need that little extra length to paddle and hold a line. You could also use a short board that’s a little thicker for paddling.

As Pipe gets bigger, you’ll need a bigger board. I step up to my 6'6” for small Pipe and good-sized Backdoor around six-eight feet. For Backdoor you generally want a smaller board as it sucks out quickly and hard. It’s difficult to fit a longer board in the face without nose-diving or catching a rail. You need to maneuver in the barrel and sneak out the doggy door too so you need a shorter and looser board than for Pipe.

Once it hits the 8 to 10 foot range I will ride my 6'10” on a shorter-period swell and 7'0” to 7'2” on a longer-period swell. The larger the swell period, the thicker and the faster the waves are moving. Just to catch the longer period swells, you’ll need a bigger board.

Above 10 foot Pipe starts to break on Second Reef, but I still like to sit on the inside ledge so the biggest board I’ll ride is a 7'4”. In saying that, guys bring out 8’0”s and bigger. On the Second Reef you need the extra length just to paddle around and get in the right spot.

These could be the conditions we’re looking at for the start of the event…

Aloha

- Anthony Walsh

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Tags: hawaii , pipeline , masters , 2011 , andy , irons , anthony , walsh , pipe , video , photos (create Alert from these tags)

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