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Last year there was a surplus of giant waves in Hawaii. You'd think, that in between all these big swells, during the rise and fall, that Pipe would've been good. But Pipe never did its thing last winter, it was big and raw at times, but never clean. Sunday afternoon the beast began to yawn, and on Monday, Nov. 15 the lion finally awoke.
Weather and trade winds had been good all week, so expectations were high for good Pipe. Dawn brought rain and clouds, but no wind and glassy conditions. As the morning wore on the weather eventually cleared, and light trades kicked in. In the water the crowd was thick and intense.
With most everyone being on Kauai for Andy's farewell on Sunday, there was a real scramble to get back to Pipe. All the main players, with the exception of Jamie O'Brien, were there. Nathan Fletcher, Joel Tudor, Aamion Goodwin, Mark Healey, Stephan Koehne, Sean Moody, Mike Stewart, Reef McIntosh, Danny Fuller, Dusty Payne, Dave Wassell, John Florence, to name a few. Standout performances go to Sion Milosky for the biggest, roundest barrel of the day, and Kalani Chapman, for aggressively riding a nine-foot gun and getting most of the best and biggest waves of the day. Thankfully no one was injured, but plenty of boards and egos were broken, including a stand-up paddle board ridden by Kainoa McGee.
The swell dropped drastically overnight and Tuesday was half the size. It's still fairly early in the season here in Hawaii, but it was nice to have a good Pipe day after last year's drought. Thrills and spills are what you expect at big Pipe, but the feeling you get being there on a good day, watching the most famous wave in the world, is hard to beat, no matter how many times you've seen it.