The Impossible Wave

Jim Mizell, Pipeline, 1971. Photo: Jeff Divine
Phil Edwards. Photo: Severson
Butch van Artsdalen, Pipeline. Photo: LeRoy Grannis
John Peck, Pipeline. Photo: John Severson
Pipeline. Photo: Dick Graham

Tuberiding became the ultimate surfing maneuver during the shortboard revolution, and remains so today. Placing yourself inside the spinning chamber formed as the curl throws out ahead of the wave, racing through the hollows, and shooting back into daylight at the end—nothing in the sport can touch it.

From the late '50s to the mid '60s, tuberiding, as a sports world phenomenon, was  just slightly more common than hitting a hole in one. Prior to that, hollow waves were simply avoided altogeth...

In the late 1950s, Fred Van Dyke and Pat Curren would occasionally sit on the beach at Pipeline. Van Dyke: “I remember watching these super-radical perfect waves, and not being at all scared or nervous—because this place was impossible. Pat turned to me and said, ‘Two thousand years from now, maybe they’ll be riding it.’”