The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, is the third and final event in the Vans Triple Crown and the final stop on the 2012 ASP World Title Series. The Banzai Pipeline, or Pipe, is a surf reef break located in Hawaii, off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea on Oahu's famous North Shore. The Pipeline is notorious for huge waves which break in shallow water just above a sharp and cavernous reef, forming large, hollow curls of water that surfers can tube ride.
With a tube-fest in store, the likes of Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith and Michel Bourez, who will hope to close out the surfing season in style by securing the Vans Triple Crown title, will all be going at it for one final time in 2012.
Part of the allure of Pipeline is that with the perfection comes consequence. Pipeline is one of the most dangerous waves on the planet. It has claimed more lives than any other wave in the world—one fatality a year, on average—inflicts numerous injuries and breaks boards for a hobby. The cause of danger, a shallow slab of reef with crevasses and coral heads, is also the reason for the barreling shape and immense power of the wave.
Whether competitors drop into a wedging Pipeline left or free fall into a Backdoor right, surfing Pipe, especially big Pipe, requires a physical and mental commitment all to itself. It’s why the Pipe Masters title is so prestigious and its champions are some of the most highly respected surfers on the planet.