Looking at classic surf films, I can only imagine how secluded and isolated the North Shore must have been back in the proverbial day. For such a legendary surf destination, the Country is still surprisingly undeveloped. Unless you choose to stay at the massive Turtle Bay Resort, you need to either rent a house or know somebody – those are your only options. That’s what makes it so special. A visit to the North Shore either involves a key or a key card, and they are each very different experiences – one is like having a backstage laminate around your neck, the other is simply a wrinkled ticket that gets you general admission.
I’ve always felt a wave of mild depression whenever I see a pack of tourists waddle off a bus at Sunset Point. There’s something about their pre-packaged group experience that makes me feel sorry for them. Perhaps most of them don’t know any better, or maybe they simply enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of a bored chaperone while traveling en-masse. Nonetheless, I’ve always made a point of staying somewhere close to the immediate vicinity of Pipeline. A few years ago, I literally slept in the closet of a team house for two weeks in order to maintain my close proximity to the North Shore’s Ground Zero. Priorities.