This image of Dusty was taken at DBah beach a couple years back. It was a super windy day that resembled the conditions that Maui surfers are so accustomed to. Not many people were out but Dusty went out and put on a clinic. Yes he pulled this. I am really looking forward to what a healthy Dusty does on tour this year. He is a legitimate threat in all conditions and thrives when it gets heavy.
This past summer I headed south with a handful of the Nike team riders to chase down a massive south swell. Among the group was young Kauai-an Koa Smith, a surfer known as much for his funny antics as is penchant for charging frighteningly large waves. Coming into the trip Koa had recently teamed up with soft top board company Catch Surf as a way to have fun and mess around on some different equipment. Looking for a chance to get a few tubes on the soft boards Koa brought a couple on our trip: no one was expecting what he would pull off. We showed up to an already pumping swell, and it was still building. By the peak of the swell the boys had all had their share of absolutely insane barrels, fearlessly charging through 15ft beach break bombs. I was shooting off a jet ski when all of a sudden I saw Koa appear out the back on one of the other skis holding his 8ft softie. It was the peak of the swell and the surf was massive, I wasn’t too sure what Koa was getting himself into, but next thing I knew the kid was stepping off into one of the biggest waves of the entire trip. He faded this thing backhand and manhandled the soft board into this beast of a pit. He didn’t make it out, and took one hell of a beating, but the kid charged and solidified himself as hellman and future legend. Good on ya Koa boy!
Well, it’c coming up on the end of the year (and as of this moment not the end of the world), and with the year end comes things such as Transworld Surf’s cover of the year conetest: and thankfully I snagged the first cover of this year for them. Head over to their site, http://surf.transworld.net/ and show my Julian Wilson cover a bit of love. For you efforts, here is the cover as well as the original photo.
About a year and a half ago I found myself heading to Indonesia once again, however this trip was a bit different. Usually when I go to Indo it is aboard the Pelagic, on trips that I have put together. This time, though, I was heading out on a Red Bull trip aboard the Indies IV, the luxery surf yacht of all luxery surf yachts. I was pretty stoked for the trip, while I was there mainly to get images of the two Nike team riders aboard, Kolohe Andino and Evan Geisleman, there were a bunch of Red Bull’s premier guys on the trip that I hadn’t had a chance to work with. One of which was Adriano De Souza. I knew Adriano just from him being such a big part of surfing for the last few years, but had never had a chance to shoot with him outside of contest areas. To make a long story short, I walked away amazed by the guys surfing.
This particular day was one for the books; I literally shot on the dingy from sun up to sun down, having the crew run food, water, and fresh batteries, back and forth for me: it was was pumping, there was no other option. HT’s was as good as it gets, a bit over head, slack wind, and sunny as could be. We had the lineup practically to ourselves and the guys were on fire: Adriano especially. He was sitting as deep as anyone, rushing solid waves and standing tall in the tube through the inside section. As the tide filled in, and the barrels were as great as an option, Adriano adapted as well as anyone, punting ridiculously tweaked out air reverses and stylish straight airs. As I said, impressive.
His ripping wasn’t what really got me though; what really set him apart was how thoroughly stoked Adriano was. After every wave the guy was kicking out all smiles, hooting for himself, hooting for the guy on the wave behind him, arms raised in pure stoke. It was cool to see a pro surfer really not care about what others were thinking but rather acknowledge how fortunate he was and just be amped to be able to go out and surf perfect waves. A few days after this session I asked Adriano about the claiming, his answer was that he just loves surfing. That a good wave gets him excited and makes him happy and he’s not afraid to show it.
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.
Walshy has been a friend of mine for quite some time. From the early days putting me up in his parents house in Maui for months on end, to more recently spending two weeks in Indonesia, we’ve had some good times and scored some unreal waves. When you spend that much time with Walshy, one thing becomes clear, whether its 5 foot or 50 feet, Ian Walsh is a madman. Just a few weeks ago, Waslh played a key role in the big wave paddle session that went down at “Jaws” in Maui. The level these guys are taking big wave surfing to is unreal, and was unfathomable just a few short years ago.
Unfortunately I was not able to make the jump over to Maui for that swell. I was, however, able to jump on a trip to the Mentawais with Ian a couple years ago; and while it may not have been 50 feet, the waves were fun and Walshy was ripping. It was pretty impressive seeing a guy that paddles into the biggest waves on earth go out and punt airs and lay it on rail with the best of them.
Kenworthy is here right now, has been for over a week, and where here is I can not say. What I can say is that Kenworthy’s present version of here (this photo is a tad dated) is much bigger, better, meaner than this version of here. The now version of here is enough to make this version look like childs play (which its not) and leave you gathering your jaw from the floor. So just sit tight because soon enough we will be bringing you a current look at here: although we still can’t say where here is…
We have been going through a sort of office re-vamp lately: reorganizing old drives, moving stuff to new drives, and just generally digging through the archives. While tedious, the process has been great that it has brought to the surface some old gems that somehow slipped through the cracks before. This photo is from one of the very first Nike 6.0 trips to Fernando de Noronha in Brazil. It is truly one of the most scenic and beautiful place on earth. We had been shooting waters for a few hours and this was one of the last frames I popped off as the sun began to set behind the rock.
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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.
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.