This is one of my favorite images from last year in Hawaii, and the story behind it is a pretty classic one. Once again, it was one of those shots where everything just seems to fall into place. A few hours earlier in the afternoon I walked over to the house where Julian Wilson was staying to see what his plan was; there were waves out front at Off The Wall, but it was a little wonky, a little closed out, and really not that motivating. We sat around and talked for a bit before deciding that it wasn’t worth it.
Just around that time Herbie and Christian Fletcher and Bruce Irons came walking into the yard; Jules was riding Astrodeck pads (Herbie’s company) so Herbie was bringing a box of new ones over. We all sat out on the deck watching the carnage go down (if you’ve ever witnessed overhead funky OTW you know what I’m talking about): beers were cracked, stories were told, it was a great time with an all-star cast of past and present surfing hall of famers.
Just as the sun was starting to dip below the horizon a set came through that sparked Bruce, Christian, and Jule’s interest. Like it often does on the North Shore, things quickly began to change a few gems were coming through. The boys were on it. I didn’t have much time at all so I just set up right there in the yard and decided to shoot speed blurs in the dying light and see what happens. It still wasn’t great, but Julian managed to grab this one and weave through one of the more impressive barrels of the trip, coming out practically at Rockpiles. Not 10 minuets after this was shot the light was completely gone. The three surfing scrambled up the beach and we quickly returned to beverages and story telling on the deck.
Christian shows Jules and his brothers a new board
Herbie, Christian, and Bruce. Two generations of legends
This cover of Kai Barger was shot quite a few years back, but it is still one of my favorite images. Warm sunny day, clear blue water, Barger absolutley killing it on this turn, you may be thinking that this was shot in some distant country, on some lavish surf trip: well that’s not quite it. The night before we knew that the waves were going to be pumping so I gave Kai a call and told him to be meet me at the beach early, he said he was in, it was on. First light and I am down there ready to get some work done, but no Kai. The waves were pumping and there were a handful of guys out so I stuck around and shot all morning any ways.
Right when I was about to pack up I see Kai strolling down the beach. I told him he blew it, missed the session, I was out of there: but he talked me into staying. His excuse was that he had to sticker up his boards, the funny thing was his Nike sticker was upside down! This was nearly the final straw for me, not only was he hours late, but the company who I was working for, sticker was upside down making it pretty much unusable. I was pretty over it but told Kai I’d stick around for another hour.
Kai ended up flaring up the whole session and pulled the unreal blow-tail pictured earning himself his first cover of Surfer Magazine. The funny thing is, the upside down sticker ended up being placed perfectly right side up in the photo: needless to say it was the last time I hassled anyone over their sticker placement.
Oh, and the tropical looking, epic surf. It was Lowers going absolutely richter one summer day
Surfing has always had it’s shares of characters: Dora, Potz, Andy, Gerr, and plenty of others who not only ripped, but brought a bit of flare and fun along with them. Heading the new crop of guys that have come to realize that surfing is a hell of a lot better when your having fun, is none other than Matt “Wilko” Wilkinson. Not one to stray from ridiculous clothes, and even more ridiculous wetsuits, Wilko backs up his antics by absolutely ripping in the water. Solidifying himself as one of the World Tour standouts his rookie year, Wilko just couldn’t seem to put it together in year two.
Midway through the season Wilko joined us aboard a Mentawai boat trip, and to say that his surfing was impressive wouldn’t even begin to do it justice. His lightning quick backhand that he is so well known for was absolutely tearing apart waves. Yet, what was even more impressive was what he through down over a few days at Macaronis. He threw down mind-blowing combos with enough consistency that he could have put together a full video part (actually he pretty much did just that on his website). The variation of turns he has on his forehand is astounding, I mean who the hell does double hand drag cutties? Needless to say he left everyone impressed, and a bit bummed at the thought that one of surfings most entertaining (in and out of the water) may be missing from the tour.
Thankfully for surf fans world wide, this last week at the Cold Water Classic Wilko put that backhand to use, dominating his way into the final and securing himself a spot on next years tour. His surfing was on point and gave us all a glimpse of what we are hopefully in for for the next year.