Epic Trip

Just got back home from another boat trip to the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, and looking back I have to say this was one for the books. I’ve spent more time in Indonesia over the years than I can even count, doing multiple trips a year for quite some time, but this last one really stands out. For one, we got waves, good waves, for almost the entire trip. It was never huge, but consistently fun with a few real stand out sessions. Not only were the waves good, but the crew was epic as well. Julian Wilson, Michel Bourez, and Matt Wilkinson were all putting on displays of technical and progressive surfing that was mind blowing; with 13 year old grom Jake Marshall charging hard and thoroughly impressing all on board. The rest of the crew of Nike guys and filmers were epic as well leading to many good times and funny memories from this one. Here are a few photos, expect more to come over the next little while

Keep checking in through out the week as we dive head first into the madness that is US OPEN

Conversations with A Legend

Last year we did a boat trip to the Mentawai islands with a group of watermen for the first ever Stand Up Paddle indo trip. The trip was amazing: great waves, great people. On board was legendary surfer, paddler, human Dave Kalama. For those of you not familiar with who Dave is, he was one of the pioneers of tow surfing at Peahi, one of the first to jump on a SUP and push the boundries both in distance paddling and wave riding, and is plain and simply one of the most influential figures in surf history. Needless to say it was pretty neat having him on board, talking story with him and shooting him surfing. One of the coolest things for me personally though, was the fact that I was reading Susan Casey’s The Wave, a book that heavily features Kalama as it explores big wave surfing’s history. I would be reading the book upstairs and then come down and pick Dave’s brain to see if things actually went as written and delve even deeper into what Casey was writing about. It’s experiences like this that make what I do so rewarding.

Mentawai Miscommunication

While on location last year in the Mentawais we decided to take advantage of a flat day and trek into the jungle to photograph the indigenous Mentawai people. Although these people have had plenty of contact with the outside world for years, they still manage to live a fairly unchanged life: bamboo huts in the jungle, livestock roaming underfoot, no roads, no electricity, no fancy possesions, a simple life in the jungle. A big part of their culture is the intricate tattooing that both the men and women have covering their bodies. When we met the woman pictured I immediately noticed and wanted to photograph her hands: worn and hardened from years of living and working in the jungle, and completely tattooed. I tried to ask her, in a serious of gestures and words lost in translation, if I could shoot her hands. Her face lit up in agreement as she stepped back, and simply removed her top waiting to be photographed. Apparently hands and boobs are easily mistaken in Indonesian. After a brief moment of shock I began shooting, and with the help of our guide, got the photo of her HANDS that I was after.

City of Lights

Layovers are common place with the amount I travel; excruciating long layovers are unfortunately common as well. This image was shot during an overnight stay in Singapore. I figured rather than sit in an airport for 18 hours I would go out and see what the city is about. My conclusion: LA, Vegas, New York, combined, on steroids. 18 hours wasn’t close to enough time to shoot all that I wanted, however I did walk away with a few images I love.

Coco Ho: Indo Cover

We spent two years putting together the Nike girls film “Leave a Message” (watch it here https://vimeo.com/24900605) and went on some really fun and memorable trips. This shot of Coco is from a boat trip to the Mentawai Islands. I’ve been doing trips with Coco since she was just a little grom, and she is always fun to have along. I’ve always liked this shot and recently it was used as the cover of Freesurf Magazine in Hawaii.

We Have Prints!

Looking for that perfect wall hanger? a gift for a friend? We have our “Prints” page up and running with a huge selection of photos for sale! We offer everything from 8×10 prints to 30×40 canvass wraps, just click on the “Prints” tab at the top of the site

Its always overhead when you’re lying down

I first saw handplanes a few years back, well before it was common place to see a handful of head bobbing in the lineup, and I was intrigued by them. I love riding waves, and I love riding waves on various crafts: shortboards, fishes, mini simmons, SUP’s, they’re all good, and all fun, so needless to say I wanted to check these things out. As my quest to figure out what these little planks were all about (all I needed as a grom was a McDonalds trey), I was told that I had to get in touch with Gary Murphy of Brownfish handplanes. Supposedly Gary was some sort of Handplane Guru, the man to talk to. Finally one morning I had a bit of time and so I dragged my assistant Kevin along with me and we headed down to Seaside Reef to meet this Brownfish guy and see what it was all about. The waves were average at best, but Gary had kindly brought a few samples along and got us out in the water. One wave later I was hooked, and I mean hooting like a grom that got his first tube hooked. The thing is, handplanes make anything fun, period, end of story. Too small, too fast, too crowded? Doesn’t matter. As Gary says, “Its always overhead when you’re lying down”.

We traded off waves for well over an hour that day, and I can honestly say it was one of the more enjoyable sessions that I can remember. We got to talking with Gary on the beach afterwards where he explained that he had been shaping a few surfboards just as a hobby when he found a crewd fencepost turned handplaned washed up on the beach. With his shaping skills already in place Gary figured he’d try his hand at making one of these mini wave riders, and that was all it took. A few months later Gary invited me down to check out his operation, so once again Kevin and I hit the road to see what he was all about, and spent the afternoon shooting him shaping. From his shaping bay the guy is constantly tweaking shapes, sizes, bottom contours, and various other design aspects in order to make what many, including myself, consider the very best handplanes out there. He truly is the Handplane guru, and his wide range of planes will keep you in the water and keep you stoked.

If you want to get your hands on one of these masterpieces check out http://www.brownfishhandplanes.com tell him I sent you and he’ll probably charge you double

brownfish from Kevin Voegtlin on Vimeo.