January is traditionally the month for the best conditions at the famous Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore. By then the sand has cleared off the reef and west swells march in from off the coast of Japan. This year, though, Pipe has turned on early and has been epic for the last few weeks. More waves are forecast to be on their way, which means 2014 will start off with a bang.
Surfer Reef McIntosh lives right in front of the spot during the winter at the Quiksilver House and has been on hand for every good swell there for the past 12 years. We caught up with him to find out just how dreamy it’s been.
How has life at the Pipeline been lately?
It’s nice when it gets on a roll like this. The last day of the Pipeline Masters [in mid-December] was good for about five hours, but then it went on shore. Every swell since then it’s been good all day. It’s great to get your Pipeline fix—straight into the main vein.
Who have been the standouts?
A few of the World Championship Tour guys have stayed around and have been surfing really well—guys like Damien Hobgood, Julian Wilson, and Adriano de Souza. Of course the Hawaiians are getting the best ones, though. Bruce Irons, Kala Alexander and John John [Florence], Tyler Newton—everyone’s been killing it.
How does this run of swell compare with others you’ve seen over the last 12 years?
It’s been a while since we’ve had back-to-back west swells combined with light winds. I’d say this is the best run I’ve seen in the last five years. There are so many amazing waves in the Wave of the Winter event this year. Tons of random guys are in there.
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