The Steep and Deep challenge is a simple and wonderful contest: Get the best photo of the year at Pipeline and you win. Why Pipe? Because it's the best wave on the North Shore and it's where Sion excelled and focused his time. The inaugural event, which was run by the Milosky Ohana and close friends, saw surfers and photographers from around the world sign up and go surfing at the North Shore's most famous wave. The images came in slowly at first, but as the Valentine's Day deadline approached, a flood of photos came in. The entries have been narrowed down to seven finalists and a winner will be picked by legendary judges Gerry Lopez, Shawn Briley, Braden Dias, Bernie Baker and Michael Ho. The winner will be announced next week and will be awarded bragging rights, a cash prize and a full-spread Live Like Sion ad
Kiron Jabour and Mike Coots
Kiron: I looked up to Sion. Not only for his great surfing, but for who he was as a person: humble, respectful and always representing aloha.
Coots: To have the best surfers and photographers vying to capture the heaviest wave ridden at Pipe and Backdoor with the most qualified judges, all in the name of Si, is the ultimate contest.
Koa Rothman and Daniel Russo
Koa: Having one of the top seven photos from the whole winter at Pipe is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
Russo: When Koa made this drop and pulled in, I chatted to my little friend upstairs that this would be a good entry for this contest.
Kiron Jabour and Ryan Foley
Kiron: It was the fourth or fifth wave of the set. It went into a double-up, caved out barrel, I let go inside of it and then the foam ball ate me and I got pounded! It was a really fun one.
Foley: Kiron Jabour was absolutely going for it. Kiron's really pushing the limits and giving his best effort. So steep and deep.
Billy Kemper and Zak Noyle
Billy: Wow! Honestly, my mind is blown. Such an honor to be in this. And the guys judging this contest are living legends. I'd skip school to come take notes and watch those guys surf pipe when I was 8 years old. [laughs]
Noyle: The judges in this contest are amazing; none better in the world! They know a good Pipe wave when they see it.
Mark Healey and Jeff Flindt
Healey: Sion pushed me in the water more than anybody I’ve ever surfed with. I feel like he’s looking down laughing at us while we're still playing catch up!
Flindt: It's an honor to be a part of this contest. My goal this year was to make the finals, and I'm so happy I did. I hope next year is even bigger and better.
Rico Jimenez and Brent Bielmann
Rico: I feel honored. There was some good Pipeline this year and it's unreal to have a picture that can contend with all those guys!
Bielmann: I’m just the photographer -- the surfer is the one who should take the most credit.
Billy Kemper and Zak Noyle
Billy: This wave was the wave of my life at Pipe. The feeling that a wave like this gives you is really unexplainable. All day after this I felt as if none of this were real. Best feeling in the world!
Noyle: I’m honored to be included among so many heavy hitters -- not just the surfers, but photographers as well.
The Milosky Ohana would like to thank Volcom, Kicker, GoPro, Oakley, Chris Kalima, SURFING Magazine, all the judges, competitors and the amazing people who believed in Si to help put this contest together (too many to name). We are excited to continue this contest in the years to come!