Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

The Pick Up: Pipeline’s A Hotspot For The Aerial Elite

Nov 30, 2018

“It’ll put you so high,” John tells Stab. “It’ll put you in places you never want to be.”

The North Shore is one of few places that rivals Western Australia and Maui in terms of ramps and air winds. From Off the Wall to Backdoor and Rocky Point, a majority of the year’s best high performance surfing occurs on Oahu's North Shore. 

In recent years, Backdoor has become especially regarded for its aerial appeal. But this is not a section for the faint-hearted – it's mainly been the best of the best who will commit to a loft over Backdoor's infamously shallow reef. Names like John John Florence, Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, and Noa Deane come to mind. 

Part of the reason that Backdoor creates such a perfect ramp is the inherent power and speed it creates.

"The best airs are the ones on the biggest sections," says Noa Deane.

Backdoor has plenty of those.

But with Oahu's tradewinds blowing down-the-line on most rights, the Backdoor ramp needs a special sort of window to thrive. Dane Reynolds expanded on that thought. 

"When there's a Kona wind, John John is doing the gnarliest shit out there. He just toys with it."

Just as Dane mentioned, John is borderline obsessed, if somewhat frightened, by Kona days.

“Backdoor will put you so high,” John Florence tells Stab. “It’ll put you in places you never want to be.”

Even Kelly Slater's had a swing at it.

"It's got amplitude and occasionally the perfect wind to hold your board and create the perfect section."

So, would you hit a beckoning Backdoor ramp?

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