The Banzai Pipeline is the most photographed wave on earth for a reason. It’s the place where, in the early ’70s, surfers perfected the enviable method of riding deep inside spinning caverns of water. That remarkable breakthrough turned Pipeline into the centerpiece of surfing’s seven-mile miracle on Oahu’s North Shore, and the largest force of gravity for surfers and photographers ever since. While it’s been filmed and photographed from every conceivable angle, the proliferation of drone photography has opened to door to a spectacular new view from above.
In the past getting above Pipeline meant photographers had to rent expensive helicopters. But when helicopters get remotely close to the water their blades whip up nasty winds that destroys the very conditions surfers crave. Helicopters are also obnoxious noise pollutants, which is the last thing surfers want buzzing overhead in this tropical paradise. Drones, however, are barely noticed when shooting the Banzai Pipeline from above.
Eric Sterman attached a GoPro to a DJI Phantom quadcopter to get the incredible images in the above video. The nimble setup allowed him to follow surfers closer than ever before from the high altitude angle, and give chase around the lineup. The results are an unprecedented look inside one of nature’s most spectacular playgrounds, including a stellar shot of 11-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater at the 1:06 mark. See for yourself.
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