As surfing has become increasingly popular, some say fear of violent reprisal ensures order and safety at congested and perilous surf spots like Pipeline.
“It’s a dangerous environment, and without a self-governing control pattern it would just be chaos out there,” Rarick said.
At Pipeline, large, punishing waves break over a shallow-water reef. With a small takeoff zone comes a small window of time to make critical decisions and dozens of surfers vying for the same waves. Pipeline is considered one of the world’s most dangerous surf spots.