This time of year, the eyeballs of surf fans worldwide are inundated with beautiful images of Pipeline roaring to life to challenge the planet’s best tube-riders. But rarely do we get a glimpse at what goes on beneath the surface. As of last year, a crew of scientists is starting to collect images of the reef that shapes these unforgettable waves, with the goal of learning more about its structure and preserving it for future generations. The folks at the MEGA Lab have been mapping and analyzing reefs around the world for years–and they’ve added the reef at Pipe to their list of coral reefs to study and protect. In the edit above, Dr. Cliff Kapono–pro surfer and Ph.D. scientist–and the rest of the MEGA lab crew investigate the bathymetry of the infamous tube machine by literally swimming out at Pipe with a few cameras and taking images between set waves. Click in to find out more about the MEGA Lab project and read our profile on Dr. Kapono below.