According to Red Bull Surfing, “Pipeline is the most dangerous wave in the world, with more deaths at the one break than have been at all other breaks combined.” It could be the raw power of the tall waves or it could be the sharp jagged reefs that the waves break onto, but in an average year, lifeguards perform more than 1,000 rescues here on the North Shore of Oahu. Surfers around the globe have developed informal rules to keep the waters safe.
Safety begins at the lineup—the zone where the waves begin to break. It’s here where the surfers wait their turn to take off. The Golden Rule applies here, along with a few other important universal rules:
Don’t be greedy: There are waves for everyone.
Don’t drop in: If someone else is on the wave, you need to wait for the next one.
Don’t snake: After your turn, go to the back of the line; you already had your turn.
Don’t ditch your board: No one wants to get hit by your loose board.
Corey felt that he could best capture the enormity and the chaos of the Pipeline lineup from above. “Pipeline is the most beautiful wave in the world. I wanted to get a straight top-down view of this wave, the textures of the whitewater, the streak of the crashing wave and the tiny surfers. You can’t really comprehend this view from the lineup.”