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Jamie O'Brien, wrapped tight in water at Pipeline Jamie O'Brien, wrapped tight in water at Pipeline No. 36401 Buy

Cavernous 24th January 2013

It’s been 10 days on nonstop rogue swell here in Hawaii. Pipe has been working most days but last night was a standout session. Waves were 8-10 (These pics probably don’t do the size of the day justice)…and some freaky 2nd reef and 3rd reef wash throughs…which I don’t know how to quantify…but they felt like they could have drowned me. Heaps of talent paddled out…Tom Curren, Dan Malloy, Wiggolly Dantas, Mark Healey, Randal Paulson, Jamie Obrien…but still no Slater (even though his house is 100 metres from the main peak).

Someone wrote on my site the other day that I’m obsessed with the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore. Well, I am. It’s one of the best waves in the world to shoot. Swells creep in from the deep pacific up onto a shallow platform of reef throwing huge cavernous barrels. On a good day, like last night, 90% of waves tube. The take-off is a extremely vertical drop eliminating the average surfer (that’s if you get one off JOB). I reckon a healthy statistic of 1 wave per hour out there for the patient man. Sure you can get plenty of scraps on the shoulder or take closeouts…but when it’s big that’ll get dangerous and you’ll end up in Kahuku hospital.

Swimming out there with a camera is always fun. Keeps the adrenalin pumping. It’s the sneaky west swells that catch you by surprise, push you into the impact zone, and pin you to the shallow reef. Most photogs hide in the cracks of the reef under a super-sized set…I do…you can see a mad scramble for a crack when we’re all stuck inside and the water has drained off the reef (Mum, I hope you’re not reading this). Shooting with a fisheye when it’s 10-12 foot plus is not really an option – haven’t seen anyone do it but know it’s been done. The peaks shifts and slabs in different spots, making it hard to read for such a wide angle lens. When’s its 6-8 and a dropping swell I’m sure Fishy will do the biz, but you’ve seen that shot a million times.

Now that’s the longest daily email I’ve written in some time!

Seeya:: uge

This man is a freak at Pipe, Mark Healey This man is a freak at Pipe, Mark Healey No. 36404 Buy
Jamie O'Brien, lining up some Pipeline perfection Jamie O'Brien, lining up some Pipeline perfection No. 36402 Buy
Pipeline, grab face, drag bootie, pull in Pipeline, grab face, drag bootie, pull in No. 36408 Buy
Sunset peak Sunset peak No. 36407 Buy
The curl at Banzai Pipeline The curl at Banzai Pipeline No. 36405 Buy
Dan Malloy frustrated with the crowds, opted to go body surf Dan Malloy frustrated with the crowds, opted to go body surf No. 36403 Buy
Wiggolly Dantas pullin' into a sweet lil' nugget Wiggolly Dantas pullin' into a sweet lil' nugget No. 36406 Buy
Makaha, the west coast, very chilled. Makaha, the west coast, very chilled. No. 36409 Buy
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Comments

  • billy said |

    so sick, your passion for the joint shines through and its f**king cool

  • Snowy said |

    Uge, thats crazy hiding in the cracks of the reef! Try and snap a shot of u and all your photog bros down there, that would be sick!

    • - karen said |

      That was my thought. I’d love to have the camera turned on you or see the reef … the danger.
      Love your work. Be safe.

  • Louise said |

    It is the longest email you’ve written – and one of the best! I’m not even a surfer – but I do take photographs – makes me shudder thinking of how full on it must be to be out there with a camera. Well done Uge! And I LOVE ‘Sunset Peak’ – just beautiful. x

  • Yuri said |

    great report today

  • Mark said |

    Hey Uge – try and get a shot of the photographers hiding in the reef – I’d love to see that side of Pipe.

  • Bres said |

    Fantastic post Uge – love the in-sight – the Jamie O’Brien pics and Sunset Peak simply awesome

  • lenore said |

    I read it and I freaked out! We’re all with him Mum!

  • Simon C said |

    Great report and pictures, I think it’s appropriate for you to knock on Slaters house and say G’day.

  • geoff said |

    Me thinks today’s first photo might pay for something substantial. Like a house. It’s absolutely stunning.
    Thanks.

  • rob said |

    Brilliant update!

    Any chance you could describe the consequences of missing out on a crack?

  • Liam said |

    I’ve seen Pipe do it’s thing. Watching the surfers was amazing but the photographers really blew me away. Anyone who swims around out there in that impact zone is a maniac, especially holding a camera. Respect Uge.

  • Jack said |

    Looks like you missed Slater. Surfline has a good sequence.

  • will said |

    fantastic shots – how the hell do you keep the water droplets off the housing? spit??

  • Tony said |

    It’s okay to be obsessed with that wave

  • Marc said |

    Btw, Slater was out there, there are even videos of him from yesterday and the day before.

  • Nicko said |

    This should answer you previous question as to the whereabouts of KS

    http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/sequence-of-the-week-kelly-slater_90979/

    • Uge said |

      Strange that I missed him.

      I suspect he paddled out for 1 wave only.

      I am staying on pipe and swam most of the arvo…the man is a mystery to me!

      Good sequence too. But seriously, saw better waves than that yesterday.

  • Lauren said |

    Hey Uge,

    Have you seen any women surfing pipe?

    • Uge said |

      Yeah, but not on the big big days. When it’s 4-6 foot for sure. I admire them…

  • Rusty said |

    Kelly says he got a few out at Pipe… http://instagram.com/p/UzMov6TbKy/

  • mossy said |

    Hey Uge,
    love your description of diving in the reef cracks during the crazy sets, any chance you
    got some pics of that? Y’know, the view from that position looking up at the mayhem overhead?
    Cheers
    Mossy

  • nima said |

    this email is one for the pool room – cheers

  • edy said |

    hahhaha the castle

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