Pipeline is nowhere near Hawaii’s deadliest beach.
In January, Hawaii’s Department of Health released a report stating that the state’s deadliest beach is the tranquil Hanauma Bay, Oahu. 11 people have died between 2009 and 2013 at Oahu’s most popular snorkelling spot. Since 2000, there have only been six deaths at Pipeline, which is often labelled "the world’s deadliest wave". Forget surfing, apparently snorkelling is a very treacherous and challenging sport.
“People think it’s a very benign activity… you kind of just float face down and everything happens,” said Jim Howe, a member of Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division. “The reality is very different. Snorkelling is quite strenuous.”
The four other beaches rounding out the top five deadliest in aloha land are also snorkelling spots. In total, there have been 43 deaths across the five beaches in the last five years.
Even in Australia the statistics are very even. 11.6% of drowning deaths are ‘watercraft’ related (not necessarily surfing) while 9.9% of deaths are directly related to snorkelling. Snorkelling is extreme.
Next time you are in Hawaii, forget about surfing Pipeline. Make sure you go snorkelling if you want to push your limits. Jaws? It’s nothing compared to a day snorkelling at Hanauma Bay. It’s dangerous, it’s raw, it’s strenuous. There isn’t anything like a gloriously sunburnt back after a day of full-blooded adrenalin under the snorkel.
The top five deadliest beaches in Hawaii:
- Hanauma Bay, Oahu
- Waikiki Beach, Oahu
- Black Rock, Maui
- Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoo, Oahu
- Molokini Island, Maui