Stripped bare at Pipeline

8 Dec 2011 0 Share

Interview and Video by Anthony Walsh

The North Shore only really breaks well in the Winter months (the Australian Summer) with good waves around from October to April. September and May sometimes have waves too, but nothing substantial. All the downtime means that the sand builds up on all the reefs and beaches.

This causes problems when the first swells arrive. When there's a heap of sand in the channel the end section of Pipe shuts down, but the real problems stem from the steep beaches which cause backwash and bumpy conditions for close-to-shore waves like Pipeline, Backdoor, Off The Wall and Rocky Point. This doesn't really affect places like Haleiwa and Sunset as they are further offshore. Sand on the reef itself also causes spots like Pipe, OTW and Backdoor to break inconsistently and close out.

North Shore local and Pipeline specialist, Jamie O'brien, knows the seven mile stretch better than most. We tracked him down to get a better explanation of the sand movements at his door step.

"Pretty much when the Winter starts we have 100 yards of sand (on the beach). We call it the 'big sand berm'. Basically what happens is when we get the first couple of northwest swells - maybe the first one at 6-8 feet – a pond forms. It makes this big pond and there's chicks everywhere, people swimming and having fun. Once that starts emptying out it starts knocking down the wall and stripping sand from the beach. West swells help. It usually takes two or three swells to get it going. But a big northwest swell will get rid of the majority of the sand. Then it will take a 15 foot swell to clean it flat. When that happens, pretty soon there is no sand. Sometimes it goes straight to reef from where I step off at my house."

Will keep you posted when the first big west comes. Hope its sooner rather then later!

Mahalo to Jaime and Damien for the extra footage.

Aloha

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Tags: hawaii , anthony , walsh , sand , jamie , 2011 , video , photos , OBrien (create Alert from these tags)

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