Another one bites the reef.
Anyone who has ever had the good fortune of pilgrimaging to Oahu’s North Shore in order to stand on Ehukai’s sands and gaze at the Banzai Pipeline has, certainly, been filled with a sense of awe and wonder. The most famous wave in the world lives up to its billing. All the power of the Ocean Pacific, the fury, crawling for miles in order to meet that reef, stand tall and explode, shaking the earth, sending plumes to pressurized mist into the tropical air.
Or, as poetically stated in the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell:
Pipeline is it. Pipeline is the only thing and it matters not which country, which state, or which island a surfer is from, he comes to Pipeline as soon as he is able. This is partly because of the way Pipeline breaks, perfectly and very close to shore making it scenically dynamic. Partly because it has claimed more lives than any other wave and has the mystique of a beautiful killer. Partly because it is the most holy admixture of science and magic. Everything surfing means is wrapped up in Pipeline.
Those brave enough to paddle into her maw might just maybe etch their names alongside Gerry Lopez, Michael Ho, Andy Irons, Jamie O’Brien and heroes who have come before. They might also catch a thorough hiding. Both, in fact, likely scenarios.
“You must pay to play,” as the adage goes, and, this December Pipeline has upped the price of admission.
Yesterday, extremely experienced local, and son of legendary strongman Eddie Rothman, posted a picture of his bloody face to Instagram after kissing the aforementioned lava rock making him the fourth major this month. You’ll recall João Chianca was dragged from the water, unconscious, around Pipe Masters time.
Tahitian charger Eimeo Czermak was injured during the event, hoping that he’ll be able to walk again.
Eli Olsen down hard too, Peruvian hotshot Joaquin Del Castillo suffering multiple hip fractures after a catastrophic wipeout latest and now Koa Rothman.
Why the spate of misfortune?
Overcrowding at the shiniest jewel of the Triple Crown?
Whatever the cause, I’m stunned that bodies aren’t broken out there every single day. Wishing speedy recoveries to all brought low.