Media: Bruno Zanin, Eric Sterman, WSL
The Pick Up: To Go Pipe Or Backdoor?
That is the question.
Once upon a time nobody went right at the Pipeline. It was too steep, too fast, and too damn shallow. Over the years surfers became braver and proved that Backdoor, like Pipeline, was not only makable but a genuinely world-class wave. In the last decade, more rights than lefts have been ridden at the Pipeline Masters, but does that make Backdoor the new Pipe?
Fifteen 10s have been ridden at the Masters since 2010 – eight rights and seven lefts. Which is to say, there's not much of a (if any) difference between the two on paper.
Looking at the subjective data – surf clips – the left produces more 10s on big, pristine Pipe days, while the right allows for perfect scores on even mediocre swells. If you rewatch all fifteen 10s since 2010 (which we have), it's pretty obvious that the Pipe waves have been more exciting and quality rides. This leads us to the conclusion that Backdoor is a high-quantity, mid-quality wave while Pipe is just the opposite.
Maybe that's why Jamie O'Brien, one of Pipe's most impressive regular-footers, said that in a split-peak scenario at the Banzai he'd go left every time.
Welcome back to "The Pick Up" a Vans x Stab joint!
Footage and imagery courtesy Bruno Zanin, Eric Sterman, and WSL