Today Was About As Big And Flawless As Pipeline Comes
Leisurely rumblings from the Weedmaps Pipe House.
The sand rumbled this morning. Each crashing wave sent vibrations up to the Weedmaps Pipe house, and every other domicile along Oahu's North Shore. The Weedmaps house is well-positioned, both physically and culturally, because they’re footing a major part of the Backdoor Shootout bill. And due to the sheer luxury of cannabis money, their Pipe Experience has been a creature of comfort – quite different from what most competitors experienced today.
Last night, Pipeline had its best few hours of the season. Today, she had her greatest full day. With a not-very-small swell pulsing from the west, sand was slowly stripped from Pipeline's reef and redeposited in its rightful place at Gums. The sun shone bright, the wind turned each crashing lip into winged birds, and the culmination of all these events led to an incredible viewing experience.
Photog Brian Beilmann spent six straight hours in the water today. He's been shooting Pipeline for over 40 years, and claims today was the best day he's seen in a few.
Today was about as perfect as Pipeline comes. The Weedmaps team, being Bruce Irons, Nathan Fletcher, Tyler Newton and Seth Moniz, along with anyone who spent their day glued to pixels watching the Backdoor Shootout can attest to that.
So, with no rental car, no bicycle and lazy legs, I’ve been locked in the house. Watching each heat unfold from the backyard. Listening to the hollers and roars. Writing this from a tablecloth littered with leftover buds from king-size doobies rolled, smoked, and lost. Nothing to do but converse, drink beer, tap keys and feel the power, or, umm, mana, of Pipeline.
The first heat went. There were good, even great waves ridden. The WM team occupied the second heat of the day. Nathan, Newts, and Seth Moniz were here early. You might have even called them chipper. High on caffeine, Nate relished his morning joint and coffee.
Rise and grind Bruce.
And Bruce, well, Bruce was asleep.
When he finally awoke, Irons scrambled out late to his heat. “Good to see some things never change,” said a man who later explained to me how easy it was to smuggle weed on planes in the 80s.
When the heat ended, Seth ended up clamped in a tube where his board came back and sliced his achilles. He was pulled from the beach, stitched up and returned for his round three heat. Is that mana?
The day continued in the fashion of blaze and haze; a spliff here, a joint there–more lethargic than yesterday. The skate team went on a helicopter tour. Massive tube after perilous pit never ceased to entrance us.
Looks at this one! Whoa, this one’s gnarly! Holy shit, how about this one? Look over to Insanities! How’s the closeout at Off The Wall? Anyone got a lighter? ...and exclamatory phrases of the like fell loosely off spectators' tongues.
A couple cute beachgoers were summoned to the Pipe house. They found themselves stumbling into an impromptu photo shoot with lensman Tony Brown.
By the time the buzzer sounded for the third round, Pipeline was in form. Backdoor had its moments and guys like Balaram Stack, Noa Deane, Tyler Newton, Torrey Meister, Kai “Mana” Henry, Koa Rothman and Mason Ho rode the better waves of the day. Noa’s performance, although it’s known he fairs well in heavy, hollow surf, was surprising. He took to Pipe with aplomb. A world-class talent, indeed.
After one particularly critical barrel, Nate turned around and asked, “How come Gavin’s [Beschen] so gnarly?
“I’m pretty sure that was Noa,” replied Newts.
From the lawn, the two were easily mistaken. Blonde hair, Volcom sticker on the nose, both natural footed. Both having a swing.
“Shit, really?” replied Nate. “Well, Noa’s gnarly.”
This back and forth shifted to a conversation about aerial surfing and the tweaked straight-airs Noa’s known for.
“Those are my favorite types of airs,” Nate said. “It shows control. My brother [Christian] was the first to do those tail high things and land them. They’re harder than just an air reverse.”
Tyler shaded himself impressed. Then noted, “I don’t do airs that often. I’m more of a grab the rail and get barreled surfer. I’m gonna stick to that.”
A respectable endeavor.
Nathan and Bruce assessing the cleaner side of chaos.
By the final buzzer of the event – a quarter before four – the wind swung west. The pristine conditions of the day went pear. Tomorrow, however, is forecasted to be quality. As the ocean's mood changes at a moment's notice on this lava-formed isle, that remains to be seen.
By the weekend, the North Shore is forecast to receive a good ole beating. A swell that prompted the owner of the Weedmaps Pipe House to call and request we put sandbags outside the living room and kitchen of the home is on the horizon. “It has washed out before,” they said. With the surf expected to go upwards of 30ft (not Hawaiian) by Sunday, it’s a legitimate concern.
This weekend some of the crew are Jaws bound, some are waiting for Waimea, and the skate and moto team are reveling in astonishment of the untamed and very certain power, no, mana, of the North Shore.