Anybody who saw it would have to agree.
A thick and unruly 12-15 foot NNW swell, with sets cresting on the third reef (nearly a mile offshore), greeted contestants for the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline and contest organizers were faced with some tough questions: Were there enough rideable waves coming through? Would the surfers be safe? Would the spectators on the beach be safe?
While all the decision making was going down on the beach, Randall Paulson patiently waited for a bomb way the f–k outside. At around 10:47 am Hawai’ian time, IT came. IT was a doubled up, twelve foot, absolute beast of a wave. I confirmed that with Luke Egan, too. “A solid twelve footer for sure, said the big goofyfoot. “The best wave I’ve seen since I’ve been here, he added.
Paulson, who calls the North Shore home, miraculously wasn’t knocked off by the cannon-like spit and after emerging from the barrel, the beach erupted into cheers while Randall raised his fists and looked to the beach. When I caught up to him soon after he was obviously moved. “I’ll sum it up quickly, said Paulson, “every day I pray to God, and every day, good things happen. The only person I can thank is God, brah. He’s the one who created Pipeline. (That wave) had nothing to do with me, that was all God. Randall went on to thank Kai Garcia from the Hawai’iam Water Patrol: “He gave me a ride out on the ski and said to me, “Here’s the wave of your life!”, and dropped me right in the spot. Yeah, Randall, you made my day, and probably a lot of other people’s day.
Other standouts during the freesurf were Tom Curren, who pig dogged two big ones before Randall’s, Brazilian Bernardo Pigmeu, Kelly Slater, Danny Fuller, and Jamie O’Brien.
Californian Pat O’Connell had the only injury of the day after a wave pile drove him, and was in danger of not being able to surf his heat, which was scheduled first. However, in a display of sportsmanship, Jake Paterson and Shane Beschen agreed to move their heat to the back of the draw.
Another injury was suffered when a set wave swept up the beach, knocking over tourists, surfing fans, and everyone else in it’s path. Funny shit except for the lady that got hit by a camera that gave her a nasty bump on her head.
A massive swell in the 20-25 foot range is fueling reports that the “Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational will run Wednesday. Check back here–we’ll be on it, full coverage. (I’ll be the one furthest out on the point with a cooler full of beer, some poke, and a digital camera)
Instead of beginning the main event, a few heats of the Expression Session were ran, but by the the wind had come up and rideable waves were few and far between.
Out for now, click on the photos to go huge.