All photos by Ryan Janssens.
The hallowed North Shore, steeped in surfing history and raw Pacific power, lined with throngs of spectators and legendary surf houses . . . It’s such stuff as dreams are made on. Dreams that are liable to be crushed into the reef along with the under-gunned, ill-prepared, pasty-faced tourists who harbour them.
Intimidating? Just a little.
Thinking of venturing out there for the first time? Heed the wise words of Gearoid McDaid, a young shredder from an island called Ireland, fresh from his maiden stint on a very different island called Oahu.
Is it easy to surf all the different breaks and get around on the North Shore or do you need a car?
Well everywhere from Velzyland to Waimea is all pretty much within cycling distance from where I was staying, which made it super easy to check waves and try to find the best place with the least amount of people on it. Then there’s Haleiwa which was a little bit further away, we got the bus there one day to go check it out but I ended up not surfing it.
Is Pipe as crowded and gnarly as its reputation suggests?
Yeah it’s definitely as crowded, if not more crowded than I was expecting. Before I went people were always saying how you could sit out there for two hours and not catch a single wave but I thought they were exaggerating… That actually happened to me one day though! I guess for me it seems even worse coming from somewhere that never really gets very crowded.