These days, the “Pipeline Posse is spreading beyond the sands of Pipeline and going worldwide with their message of aloha and surfing the best waves in the world. Here’s a quick chat with Pipeline Posse President and founder, Braden Dias.
Braden’s Sponsors: Hurley, Dragon, Glen Minami Surfboards, Da Kine, Reef.
TransWorld SURF: Tell me about the Pipeline Posse, what’s your role in that whole operation?
Braden Dias: My role in the whole operation is to keep everybody cool-headed and in an aloha-style atmosphere.
Did you start the Pipeline Posse? Is it your brainchild?
Yeah, it started out about ten years ago..
How does one differentiate between the Pipeline Posse and the Wolfpak? Is it all just kind of one family?
It’s the same bunch of friends, but what the Pipeline Posse is trying to do is share the aloha with the rest of the world, and to show the tourist people when they come over, they’re welcome. Having these people come over and see how we live, getting to enjoy it first-hand, and leaving here with a feeling of aloha is what it’s all about.
What do you see for the Pipeline Posse in the future?
Well, back in the day I wasn’t really seeing too far ahead. But, given the opportunities that we’ve been given this past summer, hopefully in the near future, we’ll have our own surf team that’ll travel the world and chase down some of the best waves.
How old were you when you first surfed Pipeline? Do you remember your first session?
I do remember my first session out there. I was around 14 years old and my first good wave that I could remember went like this: I come dropping in on like a 6 to 8 footer–It was the biggest wave of my life at the time–and I’m thinking, “I’ve gotta charge, this is Pipeline, you know, this is it! So, I go taking off on this wave–that I’m not even ready for yet–come off the bottom and it’s f–kin’ huge. I’m just going, “Whoa! The only place I can get is right into the tube so I kick it up into the tube, and here comes this body boarder, dropping in, right on top of me. I had nowhere to go and no other choice but to just hold on. The body boarder did a big bottom turn and did an el-rollo right over me. The wave spit really hard and I came flying out right under him. Right when I came out, Marvin Foster was looking at me and was like, “Yeeeaah! Marvin Foster telling me he was stoked! You know, he was like, “Good move! I was blown away and just sat in the channel for half an hour.
Speaking of Marvin, who were some of the other heavy hitters when you first started surfing out there?
There was Ronnie Burns (R.I.P.), Derek and Michael Ho, Liam MacNamara, Kolohe Bloomfield, Keoni Watson … I mean the list goes on and on. If I start naming names and forget someone they might get bummed so … let’s just say there were a lot of great surfers out there.
How have you seen Pipeline change throughout the years?
Back in the day, there was a real set of rules. You wouldn’t be able to go out there and break any of these rules without paying the consequences. Nowadays, there’s the law being involved because there have been a bunch of fights there because of the enforcement. You can’t just do that kind of stuff anymore. You need to approach it in a different way, nice and level headed, and just have a little more calmness about the whole deal. It’s been changing a bit, we’ve been trying our best.
Tell me about your best day out there.
I remember a couple radical days, you now, 12-to-18 feet (Hawai’ian style), as big as it gets. No first reef waves. You’re taking off on the third reef and it’s fifteen feet. If you look in from there, you’re sitting past the trail at Off The Wall–you’re basically a whole surf break behind Pipe.
Past Off The Wall?
Yeah, you’re past Off The Wall. You’re sitting way out there, taking off on this little shelf, that’s a whole surf break away, and you’ve gotta make it to Pipeline. Thaat the real deal. You get a whole wave in itself way before you even reach the Pipeline. Then, you come down to the second reef and then it starts building up and then you finally make it to where the barrel is–the First Reef. If you make past the barrel, you can go all the way down to the lifeguard stand at Ehukai.
That’s a long ride.
It could be like 800 yards on the right day.
With the good come the bad. What has been some of your most sketchy experiences out there?
I’d have to say getting caught inside. It’s scariest when you get caught right in the middle–you don’t ever want to be caught in the middle of a set that breaks on the outside.
The steamrollers, huh?
Yeah, you want to either on the outside or on the inside. One of the scariest moments I ever had was being in the wrong place and going over the falls on the outside and then getting thrown over and onto the reef with the lip. And that’s not even riding a wave, it’s just paddling around. That’s the worst, man.
Where’s the infamous “penalty whistle nowadays? I don’t think I heard it last year. Is it still around?
The whistle’s retired already.
Retired? Is it in some Pipeline hall of fame or something?
(Laughs) I think somebody might be holding it in their pocket.
What about today? Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers to watch out there?
From what I see, day in and day out, you’ve got Kalani Chapman. To me, he’s one of the most graceful surfers and he really puts it on the line. He’s got great friends that love surfing, and those kids, they grew up around there, and it’s a good thing to see the local people getting ahead. There’s also Mark Healey, Danny Fuller, Dustin Barca, Bruce and Andy.
Yeah, they’re pretty good. What are some things about Pipe that bum you guys out that you want to fix?
The only thing that bums me out is this; when you come to the beach to enjoy it, don’t leave anything behind. People need to leave the beach cleaner than when they arrived. The rubbish really bums me out, and I’m sure it bums the locals out, too. If everybody pitched in a little bit, it would go a long way.
We hear the word “aloha a lot, but what does it really mean? What’s your vision of aloha?
My vision of aloha is to share my lifestyle with the world and to have them come to Hawai’i and feel that aloha and when they go home they can bring that feeling back to their families and friends.