10 of the Best Shots ever of P-Pass

An easy roll-in into one of the world’s most photogenic barrels. What’s not to love?

It isn't the easiest wave in the world to get to. It's an island-hop across the Pacific that doesn't give much change back from 20-hours if you're coming from anywhere other than, say, Japan.

Even when you're on the island of Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands, there in the Federated States of Micronesia, it's still a 20-minute boat ride to get to a wave that, more often than not, is afflicted by wind.
The great thing about P-Pass, the righthander that breaks on an abrupt hunk of reef in the Palikir Pass (hence P-Pass), is it can handle swell (just off the back off the reef are radical drop-off) but can still be ridden at three foot.

The world's best surfers know all about it. They know it's a barrel that is as photogenic as it is challenging. And so when conditions show (north swells, no wind), tickets are booked and photographers engaged. And over the years, the best in the biz have set-up in the channel and captured this wave at its best.
Following, in this gallery, is the work of Raymon Collins, Ted Grambeau and DJ Struntz.

© Ted Grambeau

The best day ever at P-Pass

This day is still one of the best ever at P-Pass for its rare combination of a 10-foot plus swell with south-south-west winds. Usually the trades will blow onshore every day as soon as the sun heats up, but a storm cell just north of P-Pass kept the wind blowing straight into the barrel.

 © Ted Grambeau

Dan Ross inside a waterfall

The former tour competitor-turned-surf coach Dan Ross owns big waves. His size helps – yeah he's big – but it's that native desire that makes a surfer want to keep chasing waves that can deliver a lot of long-term pain in exchange for a few moments of pleasure.

 © Ted Grambeau

Mark Mathews inside part two

Mark Mathews, of course, needs only the briefest of introduction. Big wave surfer. Doesn't miss swells. Mark was on the trip alongside Shane Dorian and Dan Ross that found itself on the best day ever at P-Pass. Mark ain't a shirker. He goes where he needs to.

© Ted Grambeau

Tyler Wright screaming inside the barrel

The world number two Tyler Wright was supposed to be on a plane to Hawaii when she blew it off to chase swell on a three-day hit to Pohnpei. "I'm screaming in the photo because I thought I was going to die," Tyler said later.

 © Ted Grambeau

Andy Irons – a world champ at his peak

"This was the trip of a lifetime to be a part of," says DJ Struntz, of a trip that included Sunny Garcia, CJ Hobgood, Occy, Tom Curren, Andy Irons (pictured) and, of course, the impeccable cameo of P-Pass.

 © Ted Grambeau

Andy Irons upside down

For a trip of "world champs" Surfing magazine decided it was time to unveil the then relatively unknown wave P-Pass. Andy Irons had just beaten Kelly at Pipe and, according to the photographer, "was in the best form I ever saw…in-fact it was the best freesurfing I've seen in person before or since."

© Ted Grambeau

The submariner’s view

The great Australian water photographer Raymon Collins stole this image of the storm underwater at P-Pass. Push through to welcome the next set.

© Ted Grambeau

The view you seek

Just a regular kinda surfer and the theatre of the absurd. All you gotta do is make the roll-in take off (easy!) and wait for the world’s biggest club sandwich to fold over you.

 © Ted Grambeau

The P-Pass amphitheatre

A few metres away from the aggressive coral reef is a 30-metre deep channel. Which means safety, for camera crews, and a Coliseum-like atmosphere for the surfers. What do you do when everyone yells, "Go!"?

© Ted Grambeau

Untouched Canvas

Six foot and building, two surfers, crowd definitely not building. This day would see some of the biggest, and cleanest, waves ever ridden at P-Pass. 

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