Your esteemed O’Neill Wave of the Winter judging panel, from left to right: Ross Williams, Gerry Lopez, Shawn Briley and Pancho Sullivan. Photo: Mike Coots
AND WHILE YOU’D NEVER KNOW IT BY LOOKING AT PIPE THESE LAST FEW DAYS — OR THE NEXT WEEK! — WE’RE ALREADY A COUPLE DAYS INTO SPRING.
Still, though, it’s time to look back and reflect on what was a very interesting season. Time to announce the Top Ten.
“This year didn’t have as many entries as last year as there just weren’t as many quality swells,” said head judge Gerry Lopez. “However, that’s not to say that there weren’t some excellent days.
“With that said, there were still quite a few high quality rides and like every year, they require close scrutiny by the judges to determine the best ones. Maybe the surfers are getting better and the submissions as well, but I would say even with fewer rides to judge overall, it is still a tough pick to find the best ones.”
Ross Williams adds: “There’s always a few perfect-looking waves ridden every year, but this year, the actual depth inside the barrel by many was exceptional. These guys manage to take off just a little deeper, a little later and still make it out of the barrel. Pretty crazy, the bar gets set a tad higher every year.”
“Overall, this past winter on the North Shore was about average to perhaps a little below average in terms of swell activity, with only a handful of XL size swells (below average) but many solid ones,” explained Surfline’s Jonathan Warren. “Peak of the season was from the middle to end of January with a relentless run of large swell, which is right on par for what we usually see each year.”
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