Pipeline is an amazing place. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it in person when it’s truly big, you might be inclined to think it looks like a fun wave. But if you’ve stood on the beach, the sand shaking under your feet with rolling thunder from the waves, you know it is a wave that is not for the average surfer. Nathan Florence is far from average.
Pipeline recently got big. Really big. Not only big, but unruly. Chopped up faces, huge closeouts, double-ups from hell. But if you’re a Pipeline surfer, it’s just another one of Pipe’s many moods — and you likely look forward to it. But even the best of the best can’t outpower Mother Nature, and Nathan Florence found himself in a Pipeline rip current. “That’s why people drown,” he said after taking numerous waves on the head. “They’re trying to fight in, and the current is ripping them out… if you’re stuck in that situation, then your goal is to get in, but the current rips you back into the apex of the sets. And you just get drilled.”