To envision what it’s like to get barreled at Banzai Pipeline, the sacred surf spot on Oahu’s North Shore, picture yourself tucked in a turquoise cyclone, a symphony of energy thundering around you, but you are filled with a sense of serenity that only comes with such an intimate connection with nature’s power.
To envision what it’s like to wipe out at Pipeline, think about what it would feel like if the nice turquoise cyclone turned into a mean one full of cobras and decided to bodyslam you and then throw you under a cement truck.
For a visual of what it’s like when nature decides you pushed it too far, watch this captivating and frightening video of the world’s best surfers wiping out during the 2016 Volcom Pipe Pro.
The Volcom Pipe Pro brought some of the best surfers in the world to what many call the deadliest wave in the world, for a riveting competition over three days in late January. Nature -- which can often make or break a surf contest -- was firing, producing some of the heaviest swells of the year.
While the contest with a $100,000 prize purse is sanctioned by the World Surfing League, it’s debatable whether surfing Pipeline is actually surfing. It’s more like racing a moving mountain. “There is enough water and energy in each wave to light up Honolulu or put your lights out," North Shore lifeguard and big wave surfer Dave Wassel told SB Nation.
Banzai Pipeline is considered one of the most dangerous waves on the planet. It's massive swells break in shallow water, just above a reef that will tear you apart if you hit it. It has claimed numerous lives, and injured a countless amount of surfers.
Surfing legend Kelly Slater, who took top honors at the Volcom Pipeline Pro, had this to say about the Pipeline in 2013: “No one ever feels like they have mastered Pipeline. I don't think anyone will ever feel that way.”
Joining Slater on the podium were Hawaii locals Jamie O’Brien and Makai McNamara. Bruce Irons, also of Hawaii, took fourth.