Step 1: Stay Cool
Staying cool starts on the beach. Don’t trip and fall on the irregular sand. Don’t make eye contact with large, angry men. Stroll confidently past the team houses and park it in front of Jamie O’Brien’s house. Watch the waves for a while to see how often the sets are coming in, how big it is, and where it’s breaking. Visualize yourself getting the barrel of the day.
Step 2: Paddling Out
Paddle out right in front of the third house down the beach toward Hale‘iwa from the Pipeline right of way–anywhere else and you’re blowing it. Do not paddle out during a set. It’s impossible to maintain coolness while taking triple-ups on the head. During a break in the sets, paddle like hell, especially during the beginning where you will be swept quickly toward Ehukai by a strong current that begins two feet from the beach. Once you make it out, sit near the upper-echelon Pipe surfers, but not too close–some of them bite.
Step 3: Dropping In
You absolutely must concentrate on this, the most difficult and critical moment of the entire undertaking. Focus with everything your little brain has to offer. Have ultimate confidence in mind, body, and board. Lean forward and drop in at an angle (going straight increases your chances of pearling).
Step 4: In The Tube
Now you’re in the tube. Once engulfed by the wave, relax and decide how to get outta there. Either scoot up on your board and take a straight line for the exit, or stay back on the tail and pump your board to accelerate through the chamber.
Step 5: Claiming It
Wait to claim it until somebody on the beach whistles. Then acknowledge their props by calmly doing a one-handed fist pump. Increase level of claiming by crowd reaction. Congratulations are in order, but don’t get too cocky–Pipeline doesn’t appreciate that, and once agitated, she can kick some real ass.–Justin Cote