The problem here is that it’s also a stretch of sand, and ocean, with a whole lot of people. Like most stunning places in the world, it’s become more and more crowded over the years. Even on a rubbish, onshore day, you’ll more than likely see 50+ guys paddling around at Pipe. On a good day? You’re looking at a figure more towards the 200+ side of things.
And if you’ve been one of those 50, or 200 guys, then you’ll know – getting a wave ain’t easy. You’ve got to earn it, you’ve gotta put in a whole lot of time, you’ve gotta show respect – then maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to pull in on a set wave.
For most guys this is discouraging – hell, even some World Tour pros have trouble getting waves – but not for Jacob Willcox. At the start of this season Jacob made it his goal, hell-bent, to get as many waves as humanly possible over his two-week stint at Pipeline.
What does that look like? That looks like going for three surfs a day, like paddling out when conditions don’t look too hot, like dropping in on your teammates because you know they won’t get too angry (sorry Wilko!), like finding funky little lefts in the backwash from the real deal. That’s what it was about for Jacob Willcox.
And his tenacity paid off. By the time he left the rock, Jacob had surfed more waves, ridden for a longer distance, surfed faster and had more overall sessions than the entire Rip Curl team house. And that includes two World Champions, Gabriel Medina and Tyler Wright.
At the end of his Hawaiian stint, he surfed 355 waves, had 22 surfs, clocked his top speed in at 37.9 km/h and rode one wave for a massive 388.6 metres. We know this because, well, the SearchGPS watch told us so. The only person who beat him by the time he left, in any way, was Matt Wilkinson, who surfed 45 waves in one single session – but that was probably just to prove a point after Jacob dropped in on him.
Taking into considering the North Shore is one of the hardest places in the world to get a wave (and he had some stiff competition with his teammates) those stats are pretty impressive.
Now, what sort of stats can YOU rack up in two weeks on the North Shore? If you beat Jacob, just know, you’ve beaten World Champions…