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The Hottest Real Estate in Surfing

by Locations LLC 7/13/2012 10:46:00 AM

Contributor: Sean Yano (RA) - Photos by Neal Kido

Pipe Masters 2012

For a surfer there’s nothing sicker than getting barreled in double overhead sets at one of Oahu’s North Shore’s renowned breaks. Wait, scratch that. For a surfer there’s nothing sicker than getting barreled in double overhead sets at the Banzai Pipeline (pictured above) -- and then walking (still dripping!) a few feet to your crib, where you and your pals eat, surf, sleep, surf, and play all winter long. This is the life of surfing’s elite. Where the radical royalty of tube riding who call the houses of surfing’s top dogs – Volcom, Billabong and Quiksilver to name a few – home.
And during the winter months the  real estate along this stretch of sand rises in value when the Vans Triple Crown – the Olympics of surfing – takes hold of Haleiwa making the sand come alive with scantily, bikini-clad girls and men with rippled abs. Just seconds away from the beach the homes are also right in the public eye, amidst flashing bulbs of hundreds of cameras from around the globe who descend in Haleiwa with the hope of capturing the best tube ride or cutback throw down. And inside these Pipeline palaces, the view is equally attractive, where surfers live like royalty, with king-sized beds, extensive game rooms, and flat screen TVs.

View of the Volcom House from Pipeline

While the stock market may rise and fall with the tide, here on the North Shore the value of shoreline real estate is always up. With prices ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 a month to rent – some companies, like Oakley, rent year-round -- buying in this market is considered a steal. In fact, home values along Ke Nui Road (aka surfing’s “downtown”) have skyrocketed – in some cases by more than 300 percent -- in the last five years alone.*
None of the homes are valued at less than $4 million. And many of the world’s preeminent surf brands are taking notice, dropping in and snapping up properties between Off The Wall and Rocky Point.

Click image to enlarge
Volcom: Today, Volcom is king when it comes to beachfront real estate. In 2007 the established lifestyle brand purchased its second surf house, and one of the most famous homes in surfing lore – the three-story home splashed directly in front of Pipeline. Home to surfing legends the likes of Gerry Lopez and Herbie Fletcher for close to three decades, the newest casa de cowabunga is now headquarters for Volcom team riders including Bruce Irons during the winter wave season.
Dubbed the Volcom Pipieline House, this three-bedroom, five-bathroom surf shack raked in a reported $4.2 million.  In between surf seshes the 3,000-square-foot house is also used as an R&D center for product design, testing and retailer roundtables.

The Volcom House (aka The Lopez House) was bought by the company from Pipeline legend Jerry Lopez

Volcom still owns and maintains a single-story house further along the shore, which it purchased in 2005 and is notorious for its throw down, all out barbeques and bashes. Put it this way: what happens at the Volcom House, stays at the Volcom House.
Billabong: A few waves down from the Volcom House, an equally illustrious name in the surf universe calls the Banzai Pipeline home – Billabong. The company’s Pipe pad (just one of three that company takes over in the winter months) sprawls over six bedroom home and can sleep up to 18.
Even with so many beds, there are so many heads that each bed in the company’s three beachfront homes are carefully accounted for – down to the futon that Parko’s trainer crashes on when in town. In the past, the “A-team” house housed the late Andy Irons and his wife Lyndie on the second floor, while Joel and Monica Parkinson and Taj Burrow and Tiago Pires caught their z’s downstairs.

The Billabong 'A Team' House at Off the Wall

As if that isn’t enough, the house also features three kitchens, two large living rooms, a third level observatory deck and backyard lanai. Your dream of sleeping where the surf stars sleep, can become a reality. The Billabong Pipeline House is available for rent from March 15 through October 15 – for a price of course.

View of Pipeline from the Billabong House

Quiksilver: Cut back into the landscape between Jamie O’Briens house and the Volcom Pipe House along the stretch of prime barrel boulevard lies the Quiksilver Pipe House. Located at 59-367 Ke’nui Road, there are rumors drifting thicker than limu, of groms spotting a ghost that cruises this residence and protecting its residents. Steely-nerved residents of these deluxe digs include team riders Fred Patacchia, Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds and Clay Marzo.
Can’t get to the house in person? Join the close to 5,000 people online who are friends with the Quiksilver house on Facebook.
Oakley: For Oakley team riders the likes of Danny Fuller, Bruce Irons, Makua Rothman, Dustin Barca and Kai Barger, the view from the Oakley House in Pupukea is priceless. Seven-figure-price-tag be damned, the ability to wake up with the sun each morning and stare straight into the barrels of Backdoor and Off the Wall, means that those lucky enough to call the house home ARE the surf forecast.
Roxy: Just because they ride in a bikini, doesn’t mean they don’t rip. The beach babes – Sofia Mulanovich, Amy Murphree, Sarah Mason, Arini Mason, Sally Fitzgibbons -- of the Roxy house turn heads in more ways than ones. And though the company won’t release the exact location of their abode, rumor has it that it offers great views of V-Land, Sunset and Kammies.

Fun Fact: Red Bull and Body Glove share this home for its team riders year round.

Pro Insight:

Sean Yano (RA). a Locations LLC realtor & partner and former pro surfer on the World Tour, reflects back on North Shore beach life.

Growing up surfing on Oahu, my friends and I would make the scenic one-hour trek out to the Country from Kaneohe almost everyday during the winter seasons.  If there was any swell at all, we would be there.   Surf photographer, Bernie Baker would let us leave our boards at his house so we wouldn’t have to load up everyday.

We would hang out at Ronald Hill’s house, close to Laniakea, with the late, great Todd Chesser, Brock and Clark Little, and Todd Mitsui just to name a few.  Ronald’s parents had an “open-door” policy at the house so anyone and everyone was always welcome, and they would have a big Thanksgiving feast every year and everyone was always invited.

Benji Weatherly’s family lived in the current and original Volcom house during that time, and because it’s located right in the hot spot in front of Pipe, it was definitely the main gathering place for the mass of local and visiting surfers. 

In those days, it was common for the larger corporate surf companies to rent houses during the winter contest seasons but they’ve started to realize the great investment opportunities owning real estate in Hawaii offers, and some have purchased the prime properties in front of the most popular surf spots on the island.

Things were a lot different back then though, even on a good day at Pipe, we could go out with only a handful of surfers.  But today, with all the North Shore hype, its virtually impossible to paddle out at Pipe without a big crowd, on practically any swell.


Sean Yano

Realtor Associate, Associate Partner

Fine Homes Specialist, Chairman's Circle Gold, Aloha 'Aina Award Winner

Mobile: (808) 386-4487


Neal Miyake | Jul 17, 2012

Great article Sean. Always wanted to know exactly who owned which house. Couple of little nits on this. The shot was probably taken during the 2011 event (2012 event is coming up in December). Also, due to a trademark ruling, it is now called the Pipe Masters.

And to everyone else, Sean is the real deal. Hard charger back in the day, good competitor. Awesome to see that he's done so well. And he's generously given back to the surfing community. But he's too humble to mention that. Aloha!

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