surfer leaning over horizontally

Banzai Pipeline

  • Watching the pipeline
  • Riding the pipeline
  • Braving the wave
The Banzai Pipeline is well known among surfers and found at Ehukai Beach. It literally is a surfing break that takes the shape of a tube. The reef break occurs when ocean waves start to break as they reach the shallows of a reef. They form caverns on the inside, hence creating giant air bubbles that pop in front of the wave as it lurches upward just before breaking.

Four types of waves  are associated with the Banzai Pipeline. The most commonly surfed, the left (meaning that the wave breaks from the left from the perspective of persons watching on shore), the peak occurs when the reef is hit by a north swell (the highest tipping point of the wave when it begins to curl). The peak becomes an A-framed wave as the pipe starts to close out a bit and peeling to the left. The Backdoor pipeline is also quite famous and occurs as the pipe is peeling away to the right simultaneously.

The Banzai Pipeline or simply "Pipeline" or "Pipe" is considered the world's deadliest wave. Many surfers have lost their life trying to ride the wave. The take off zone (the location where the surfer needs to be to catch the wave) is quite small. Many surfers congregate there as it is breaking large. Three reefs activate in progressively deeper waters at Pipeline depending on the increasing size of the approaching ocean swell.

The name Banzai Pipeline derives from the name of the beach (Banzai Beach) and the surf break (Pipeline) which has been combined. The name Pipeline was first used in December 1961 as movie producer Bruce Brown filmed at the location. Mike Diffenderfer, a surfer in the movie production, made the suggestion to name the break 'Pipeline'. The name was used in Brown's movie "Surfing Hollow Days".

Surf Break
Beach Features:
North Shore, Pūpūkea, Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States 96712
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