Photos by Pedro Gomes
Earlier this month, Hawaii's best tube-riding specialists gathered on Oahu's North Shore at the world's most revered wave—Pipeline—for the 2019 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout.
For the fourth year running, the Shootout (historically a traditional surfing event) hosted the Pipeline SUP Invitational. Many of the sport's hardest charging surfers including Mo Frietas, Zane Schweitzer, Bullet Obra, Tehotu Wong, Pomai Hoapili and others went toe-to-toe in what Hawaiian's might deem four- to six-foot Pipeline. Photographer Pedro Gomes was on-hand to capture the action and shared a few of the scenes he captured during the contest.
“As a photographer, Pipeline is still the most beautiful wave in the world,” said Gomes. “It’s so close to the shore, that’s what makes it the best surf show on earth. It's nice of Da Hui to make such a great event including all kind of surfing on the best wave in the world.”
“The surf conditions were perfect, more north swell so it was better for Backdoor.” – Pedro Gomes.
Zane Schweitzer honing his back-side approach on a Backdoor bomb. “The waves were really fun but challenging with the swell direction and size. It was about four- to six-foot Hawaiian and more north than Pipeline likes. This was making for fewer quality waves at Pipeline and more consistent Backdoor rights. It was challenging because it was not holding open perfect, so it really came down to selecting the appropriate wave that would allow for a nice long ride in the barrel while still being able to navigate out of it and not getting the frequent ‘clamp’ of the barrel ending the ride.” – Schweitzer, from a post on the Starboard site.
Going for glory and closeout barrels, at Pipeline. “I can't see a benefit in using a paddle at Pipe, I think it makes things harder. To be able to surf with a standup paddle at Pipe, you need to be really good. It’s definitely not for beginners and all the guys [competing on SUP] are the best of the best.” – Pedro Gomes
Bullet Obra, grabbing rail and depth at Backdoor. “Pipeline/Backdoor is a very fast wave, it's actually a body wave, so if you are there with a SUP you have to have fast moves holding a paddle.” – Pedro Gomes
Mo Freitas, slotted into a perfect Backdoor barrel.
Zane Schweitzer battling in the final heat.
Freitas stalling for barrel time and style.
Mo Freitas would emerge victorious after earning a 9.0 ride. “I was impressed by the performance of Mo Freitas, to me he is the best standup paddle surfer in the world next to Kai Lenny.” – Pedro Gomes
Highlights from last year’s SUP surfing contest at the Backdoor Shootout.
What went down at first-ever SUP contest at Pipeline.