Professional surfer Elishama “Shama” Beckford is the first Jamaican to surf the famous and dangerous Banzai Pipeline on O’ahu’s north shore in Hawaii. The Banzai Pipeline, also known as the “Pipe,” is a reef break located off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea. In this area, waves begin to break once they reach the reef’s shallows, making the Pipeline notorious for its huge waves that break just above a cavernous and sharp reef. The waves create large, hollow curls of water than form tubes for surfers to ride. The Pipeline features three reefs in progressively deeper water and further out to sea that are activated according to the growing size of the approaching ocean swells.
Beckford was the RJR 2014 Sports Foundation Surfer of the Year and is also a Marley Brand sponsored athlete. He is a significant presence on the global surf scene and has been called one of the brightest surfing talents since the Willmot Brothers. Beckford was a dominant force in the annual Junior Surf Series of the Jamaica Surfing Association. He has been instrumental in promoting the sport of surfing in Jamaica and setting standards for young up-and-coming surfers there.
The name of the Banzai Pipeline combines the surf break’s name and the name of the beach that fronts it. It was named in 1961 when Bruce Brown, a surfing legend, was driving the coast with California surfers Phil Edwards and Mike Diffenderfer. He stopped at the then-unnamed sport to film Edwards catching some waves. As there was a construction site nearby building an underground pipeline, Diffenderfer suggest naming the break “The Pipeline.” This name was first used in the film “Surfing Hollow Days” by Brown. In 1963, it was also the name of a hit surfing tune by The Chantays.
In a celebratory tweet this week, Juliet Holness, Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, one of the largest constituencies in Jamaica, as well as the wife of the country’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, congratulated Beckford on his achievement. She tweeted, “Congratulations to my constituent Elishama Beckford, on making history as the first Jamaican to surf the world famous Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.