Forecast: The Pipeline Masters
Starting on Tuesday December 8th, the Pipeline Masters will be the first men’s CT event of 2020. Under the New World Tour Order, Pipe will be the season opener and not the closer as it has been for almost three decades.
How that changes its entertainment value remains to be seen. As the last comp of the year, the Pipe Masters was many contests in one, with each knockout heat changing the end-of-year rankings. It decided who’d be on tour next year, determined world champions, and it ended careers.
All that’s now disappeared, yet considering the brutal nature of the wave, Pipe should be able to make up for the shortfall in drama as long as it gets swell.
So will it..?
The lead up to the comp will be very active with an extra-large NW swell hitting Hawaii on Wednesday the 2nd - size will be around 15-20ft+ with all day light easterlies! - followed by four more days with waves between 6 and 10 ft.
Then on Monday the 7th - one day before the waiting period begins - another significant NW swell will hit the North Shore. This swell looks similar in size to the one previous, peaking around 15-20ft+, too large for Pipe, but the question will be whether the swell drops enough overnight so organisers can sound the hooter on Wednesday the 2nd - the first day of the waiting period.
The low that creates the swell will bomb - i.e drop 24hPa in 24 hours - however it’s positioned closer to the Hawaiian Islands than is ideal, meaning there’ll be a wide range of periods in the mix so it’ll appear raw and slightly ragged, and even though the swell will have dropped to 12-15ft on Wednesday morning (and then will drop further through the day) there’s only an outside chance competition will run.
There is, however, a very good chance the women will run at Honolua Bay, so fear not, Webcast Watchers, you will be entertained!
Wednesday the 9th will dawn with the swell edging more towards the NNW and waves in the 6-8ft range tapering towards 4-5ft as the day draws on. Winds are at present forecast to be light SE and possibly even S, which is a mild worry for a swell direction that favours Backdoor, yet aside from that there’s a strong chance competition will run on Wednesday.
By Thursday, the swell will be down to 3ft, reducing further through the day, with light and variable winds - possibly another competition day - with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday similarly small.
Whether the organisers choose to run competition during those three small days will hinge upon the development of another large swell at the far end of the forecast window. It’s too far off to have any certainty on size or timing, however considering the active state of the North Pacific they have reason to be optimistic about another round of large swell to finish the contest in.
We’ll continue to provide developments of the Pipeline Masters forecast in the comments below.