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One of the 10 deadliest waves in the world, Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline is famous for its heavy swells that can reach up to 30ft, breaking over shallow, rocky coral reefs at high speeds to form barrelling curls of water. Top professionals take on the waves every November in the Vans Triple Crown, called the “Super Bowl of surfing” by The Los Angeles Times.

First made famous by pro-surfer Gerry Lopez, who rode Pipeline’s deepest wave in a pared-down style that set the standard in the 1970s, this 2013 video compilation of aerial shots by photographer Eric Sterman showcases the power that Pipeline’s breaks can harness. Check out the shot at 0:43 to see how beautiful gliding through the wave can be.

The season for Hawaii’s big wave surfing is in the winter, from November to February. So if you happen to be in Pupukea, a town on Oahu’s North Shore, now is the time to either take on Pipeline – or at the very least, revel in the spectacle of those who do. The rest of us will just have to let the footage mentally transport us to the awe-inspiring sight. 

New to surfing? The Hans Hedemann Surf School has a location at Turtle Bay, five miles west of Pupukea, where experienced instructors provide one-on-one lessons. Beginner surfers can also take lessons on the more moderate 3ft waves in Turtle Bay.

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