This event, one of the Triple Crown of Surfing, takes place each December at Hawaii’s famous Banzai Pipeline on Oahu. This year’s competition will be the 40th anniversary of the event, which is usually won by Hawaiians though there have been eight winners from the US mainland, eleven from Australia, and even one from South Africa. The prize money for the event is $400,000.
The Pipe Masters is the final event of surfing’s annual Triple Crown, and the event surfers most want to win. They’ll come to Oahu’s North Shore, to Ehukai Beach Park, where powerful waves crash across a shallow reef. “Ehukai” is the Hawaiian word for “sea spray.” They’ll be greeted by hundreds of spectators, many of whom come from great distances to witness the world’s best surfers take on the world’s most dangerous waves.
The Banzai Pipeline regularly features twelve-to-twenty-foot waves, but that alone isn’t what makes the area famous. It’s also the most dangerous surf spot in the world. An average of one person per year dies trying to master these exhilarating waves. Andy Irons, a four-time Pipeline Master, explained the peril. “There are big coral heads that look like anvils underwater. “When you hit those it just splits you open. People die there just from hitting it.” Irons is in the news as this is written, having been found dead in his hotel room from still unexplained causes.
- The Deadliest Surf Spot in the World (surfing.suite101.com)