To win a Pipe Masters title is one of the life-defining pinnacles of the sport of professional surfing. Every year since its inception in 1970, the thundering event has seen surfing’s most elite and revered athletes pitched against themselves, their opponents and the world’s most famous wave, the Banzai Pipeline. Without fail, the event is a mirror and a sounding board for each step in the evolution of surfing, surfboards and shapers – to look back in time is to bear witness to the progression the sport has seen in every way, shape and form over the past nearly 50 years.
Billabong have done just that with an aptly titled exhibition ‘Salute To Pipeline’, just launched at the Turtle Bay Hilton on the North Shore of O’ahu, Hawaii. Curated by the California Surf Museum, the collection gathers together 21 of the most iconic boards ever ridden at Pipe. With historic imagery and video interviews on each of the 21 boards, the collection immortalizes the stories of the shapers who created them, the surfers who rode them and the events in water and on land that led to their victory and heyday.
With the exhibition launching just this week, O’ahu has been inundated with a roll-call of some of the biggest names in the annals of surf history. The opening night kicked off at full steam, and was attended by many of the Pipe Masters winners including Kelly Slater, Michael Ho, Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo and Bruce Irons, along with Pipe legends Gerry Lopez, Jock Sutherland, and many more.
Check out the opening night antics below!