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John John Florence, Backdoor, Dec 7th, 2017.

John John Florence, Backdoor, Dec 7th, 2017.

The Inertia

Each year, O’Neill partners up with Surfline for the Wave of the Winter contest. The judges are Gerry Lopez, Shane Dorian, Shawn Briley, and Pancho Sullivan, a group of people who know Pipeline and all its nuances better than your average armchair judge. Now, with winter locking up its doors and shuttering its windows, they’ve narrowed a glut of videos down to 10 insane rides. It wasn’t easy to do, though. The judges take everything into account—the ride, the style, and of course, the wave itself. It’s not a point-based system; instead, it’s a group of people who know the North Shore like the back of their hand and know what a great ride entails.

“The season started slow and late but finally kicked in for January and especially February, where we got a lot of clips to look at,” said head judge Gerry Lopez to Surfline. “It was difficult judging this year because there were a lot of great, long tube rides on waves of different sizes and intensities. Sometimes, the rides were exceptional but on smaller waves. Then there were heavy, gnarly waves that were part survival just to complete the rides.”

Here are the top ten Waves of the Winter:

Kona Oliveira, Backdoor, Dec 7th, 2017:


John John Florence, Backdoor, Dec 7th, 2017:

Kelly Slater, Backdoor, Jan 8th, 2018:

Anthony Walsh, Pipeline, Jan 12th, 2018:


Nathan Florence, Backdoor, Jan 12th, 2018:

Jamie O’Brien, Pipeline, Jan 12th, 2018:

Keito Matsuoka, Pipeline, Jan 12th, 2018:

Koa Smith, Backdoor, Feb 2nd, 2018:

Landon McNamara, Pipeline, Feb 4th, 2018:

Jun Shiiba, Off the Wall, Feb 12th, 2018:



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