Stab Magazine | The Pick Up: Pipeline Has Killed More Surfers Than Any Wave On Earth

The Pick Up: Pipeline Has Killed More Surfers Than Any Wave On Earth

“The take off spot is the most dangerous place to fall from a surfboard,” OG (Original Gnarler), Nathan Fletcher, tells Stab.

vtcs // Nov 29, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

From October to February, year after year, Pipeline is the culprit behind many a steely-nerved surfer’s near-death experience.

Think Evan Gieselman. Think Dusty Payne, Owen Wright, Kalani Chapman—all in the upper echelons of the heavy wave hierarchy. And, even in the past decade there have been multiple mortalities of men who’s names are perhaps less recognizable, but which left no doubt as large a hole. 

In short, Pipeline is menace of a wave, a grave (im)perfect murderer. Paddle out at the break in barely overhead surf, it will show you real quick. There are few waves on earth that lurch, flex, wedge, and break with the same tenacity as the Banzai. Tick it up a few notches and it’s a true natural anomaly, a “freak” as most who are familiar with it will claim. 

This episode of “The Pick Up,” a Stab x Vans Triple Crown of Surfing affair, celebrates the North Shore’s eternal proving ground and why taking protective measures shouldn’t be frowned upon.   

Because when Nathan Fletcher won’t surf a wave without both helmet and inflation, you can bet your best tube shooter the spot is gnarly, because when speaking of gnarly, Nathan Fletcher is first in line. 

“People asked me, you got your training wheels on,” Nathan says. “But you don’t hit a mega ramp on a skateboard, or drive formula one in trunks, do you? 

“I like to be prepared. I’m like a business guy. This is my fucking briefcase.” 


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