PIPELINE. Just the name shoots fear through my heart. Insanely hollow tubes breaking over a shallow coral reef. The steep drop, crazy speed, and all the while the fear of the dark reef gliding below, always reminding you of what happens if you fail. Conquering that fear is the ultimate challenge. And for many years it prevented anyone from riding it. It still does today.
The wave at Maverick’s is unique in many ways: its location, the geology and geomorphology of the reef, and the massive swells that surfers ride. In many ways Maverick’s allure is the story of its reef, which is legendary for creating both a perfect large wave and a reef seemingly designed to punish those attempting to ride it . As if the reef and wave weren’t enough you can add the fact that great white sharks frequent the area and occasionally clear the lineup with their presence. In the early days, before it became popular, surfers knew it would eventually kill people with its strong currents, long period swells, 10-15 wave sets and multi-layered inner reef full of valleys, holes and crevasses leading into a boneyard of exposed, jagged rocks. And it has.