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.
When I was a young surfer I read about the first surfers to ride Waimea Bay in 1957. Surfers at that time were too afraid to surf Waimea, and for good reason.From the beach Waimea appeared too big, too fast, too steep and just generally too treacherous to ride. Add to that a raging rip current, sharky waters, and the presence of a church on the point and a Hawaiian heiau in the valley and it all added up to a scary, forbidden place.