For years, the pecking order at Pipeline was heavily regulated. Sitting at the peak wasn’t something just anyone could do. Men like Johnny-Boy Gomes and Dane Kealoha made damn sure that if you didn’t earn a wave through years of perseverance and commitment, you weren’t on it. “Personally,” says Fred Pattachia, “I think that right now, there are a lot of guys out there right now that shouldn’t be sitting where they’re sitting.”
As crowds increase, technology evolves, and physical intimidation becomes less favorable, it appears groups like the WolfPak and the Pipeline Posse have become a bit less relevant – or at least brutal – in terms of keeping people in check in one of the most dangerous waves in the world. “There has to be a governing force out there,” continues Pattachia, “and right now, there’s a gap in that.”
And whether or not that’s a good thing, one cannot deny that a large part of the history of surfing Pipeline has involved, in Freddy’s words: “a very large and scary looking human.”
The preceding interview was filmed during the making of our upcoming short documentary BRINK: Surfing’s New World Order, which tracks the ascent of Brazil’s first World Champion, and the emergence of surfing’s greatest new power. Check back for its release on February 17.