CATEGORIES On the Scene

Once upon a time, surfing was considered a man's world, filled with blond hunks who had perfect tans, no fear and a sport-specific lexicon dripping with "dudes," "gnarlies" and "hang tens."

That was before 'Blue Crush.' The 2002 movie stars Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie Chadwick, an aspiring pro surfer living on Oahu's North Shore. She and her bad-ass girl posse live a hard-scrabble life working as maids at a fancy local hotel and taking care of Anne Marie's little sister after mom leaves town. While their lives are tough, their remote Oahu home is a surfing Mecca thanks to Pipeline, their local surf break. The waves there are some of the world's heaviest and most famously dangerous, known to get as tall as buildings before crashing over a deadly reef.

Outside the daily grind for survival, surfing is their life: Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) is training Anne Marie for the annual surfing contest in the hope that she'll score a pro sponsorship -- and a ticket out of poverty in paradise. Of course, 'Rocky'-style training is no fun without a little lovin', and luckily, a football team obliges by checking in to the hotel. Things get complicated fast when Anne Marie's budding crush on the quarterback keeps her out of the water, and suddenly our pretty surfer must choose between easy comfort and chasing her dreams.

Based on Susan Orlean's article 'Surf Girls of Maui' in Outside Magazine, 'Blue Crush' was neither a critical nor box office success. But as an ode to girl power and a staple of surf cinema, the film remains a cult fave -- not to mention the launching pad for Bosworth's career.

Once upon a time, surfing was considered a man's world, filled with blond hunks who had perfect tans, no fear and a sport-specific lexicon dripping with "dudes," "gnarlies" and "hang tens."

That was before 'Blue Crush.' The 2002 movie stars Kate Bosworth as Anne Marie Chadwick, an aspiring pro surfer living on Oahu's North Shore. She and her bad-ass girl posse live a hard-scrabble life working as maids at a fancy local hotel and taking care of Anne Marie's little sister after mom leaves town. While their lives are tough, their remote Oahu home is a surfing Mecca thanks to Pipeline, their local surf break. The waves there are some of the world's heaviest and most famously dangerous, known to get as tall as buildings before crashing over a deadly reef.

Outside the daily grind for survival, surfing is their life: Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) is training Anne Marie for the annual surfing contest in the hope that she'll score a pro sponsorship -- and a ticket out of poverty in paradise. Of course, 'Rocky'-style training is no fun without a little lovin', and luckily, a football team obliges by checking in to the hotel. Things get complicated fast when Anne Marie's budding crush on the quarterback keeps her out of the water, and suddenly our pretty surfer must choose between easy comfort and chasing her dreams.

Based on Susan Orlean's article 'Surf Girls of Maui' in Outside Magazine, 'Blue Crush' was neither a critical nor box office success. But as an ode to girl power and a staple of surf cinema, the film became a cult fave -- not to mention the launching pad for Bosworth's career.

Location as Character: Anne Marie isn't the first surfer (fictional or otherwise) to be intimidated by Pipeline, but the spot becomes her proving ground after she has a nasty run-in with the reef. As Eden tows her in to monster wave after monster wave, Anne Marie's demons come home to roost, revealing that surfing is a mental game with no room for fear -- especially here. When the contest finally arrives, then, there's a lot more at stake than a magazine cover and industry accolades.



Pipeline also represents challenge and triumph from a production perspective. In an unusual move for a big-budget movie, Bosworth did much of her own surfing in waves up to 10 feet high. Industry mainstay John Philbin, known for his role in 1987's 'North Shore,' was her mentor, transforming her from a modelesque "grom" (a beginner surfer) into a muscular, hard-charging ripper.

Much of the movie's appeal for surfers are the superstar cameos by some of the sport's best, from Keala Kennelly to Rochelle Ballard. In addition to the pros, the film is also a Who's Who of renowned Pipeline locals. Behind the scenes, the North Shore's big-wave expert Brian Keaulana was among the key stunt coordinators, while surf photographer Don King, another local resident, was among the cameramen. Local pro Tamayo Perry, meanwhile, is one of the many North Shore surfers who appear in the movie's surf scenes.

Historical Significance: Originally known as Banzai Beach, Pipeline's waves were named in 1961 by movie producer Bruce Brown, who stopped to film there. At the time, pipeline construction was underway on the adjacent highway, and one of the surfers on the shoot suggested naming the break after the nearby project. Brown unveiled the nomenclature in his 1961 surf film, 'Surfing Hollow Days.'

Historically, Pipeline is known as simply one of the most punishing surf spots on the planet. With its jagged reef and behemoth, hollow waves, more surfers have lost their lives there than at any other break. Because of Pipeline's exceptional waves and narrow take-off spots, residents are also extremely protective: When pros from Australia, South Africa and the U.S. started flocking to the spot in the 1970s, locals upset with a perceived lack of respect formed the Wolfpak, a group that became synonymous with beat-downs and other acts of aggression to patrol the break.

Pipeline has also grown in international reputation as a premiere contest destination. The break sits along a sleepy seven miles of Oahu's north coast, but each year thousands of pro surfers, coaches, industry reps, groms, talent scouts, tourists and members of the media descend upon it for December's Pipeline Billabong Masters. The annual event is the final competition on the professional tour, in which the top-rated surfers compete to be world champion. Winners receive $400,000 -- and lifelong bragging rights.

Directions:
From Honolulu International Airport, take Interstate H1 W/Waianae, and take Exit 8 toward Wahiawa. Merge onto HI-99 N/Kamehameha Highway, continue straight onto HI-83 E/Kamehameha Highway. Turn left toward Ke Nui Road, turn right on Ke Nui. Ehukai Beach Park -- home of Pipeline -- will be on your left.

Visitor Info: Ehukai beach Park is open to the public. Swimming is prohibited in the winter.