Pipeline: The Wave: Quick Note on Perfection


As William Finnegan said in Barbarian Days that surfers have a perfection fetish. The cliché, of course, are images of an empty wave peeling to shore with one or two of your best friends out, not hundreds of people. Pipe, of course, is known as one of the best waves in the world. But it very rarely is completely uncrowded and perfect is a relative term. For me, for weekend surf jockey’s, we picture “perfect” as wave after wave almost breaking the same, machine like, user friendly, so that you can turn around and go on almost any wave and have fun. You can drop into any wave you want with just enough danger to it that your adrenaline gets going, bottom turn, pull into the barrel, come out, make a few turns or pull in for another barrell and step off on shore. By that definition, Pipe isn’t perfect. When it is truly working, some waves are still unmakeable. When it is truly big, which it hasn’t been this trip, it will test the limits of even most accomplished hellman. Even when it’s small, it can test your limits. I knew all of this coming here. But what’s caught me off guard is the beauty of the wave as a pure cylindrical form. The artist’s son in me. Compared to France and Portugal, compared to almost any wave in the world I’ve surfed or watched, Pipeline is stunning just to look at. Potentially terrifying to surf. But perfect to watch. I love you Hossegor and Supertubos, but not in the same way. No offense, as gorgeous as you are, you make the North Shore even prettier.



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