January has been good to Northshore surfers. After a long wait, January 4th delivered the first Waimea swell all season. For the most part, waves were in the 15 foot range, but there were some 18 foot sets and some say there were freak 20 footers. The Backdoor Shootout followed with 3 of the best Pipe days all year. The first day was pretty amazing, especially in the afternoon when the waves were thick, round and juicy. The second day got a little too big mid-morning and they put the contest on hold for a while, but then it turned on again and contestants were scoring once again. The final day was smaller, but still pretty epic and they almost ran a fourth day which would have been just as good even with a dropping swell. Reef McIntosh won $30,000, not to mention some of the best waves at Pipe all season with just three other guys. The surf dropped, the swell direction veered north and conditions fell apart after the Shootout, but then came back together for a solid west swell this morning. I think it was a little bigger than they were expecting today since this evening was nearly 10 feet Hawaiian scale tonight without a high surf advisory issued. Strong southerly winds were straight offshore, but still washing the waves out a bit. It was not perfect, but there were a few nice waves. Liam McNamara is putting on a Pro Jr at Sunset and supporting the local kids. A little pack of them were ripping out Pipe this morning and their event has a little bit of a waiting period before the Volcom Pipe Pro on January 24th. The Pipeline Bodyboarding Pro starts February 15th and goes until the 24th and the Women's Pipe contest starts on the first of March. With just 10 days between these contests and such a late start the Northshore surf season, sessions at Pipe seem more scarce than usual. The waves have not been perfect there this year by any means however. The abundance of north swells early on, set up a weird sandbar which is crossed up with the reef. There have been epic waves, but not necessarily those epic days that we love. It was starting to look better tonight and hopefully with south winds and NW swells all week, there will be some fun surf action before the next contest.