Brazil Beyond The Beach

Brazilians love to surf; and, as the rest of the world has come to learn, Brazil has some damn good surf. However, it isn’t all about the waves. A huge country with a population as diverse as they come, Brazil is a giant melting pot of culture, art, music, color and life. With towering high-rises and crumbling favelas providing a paradoxical background to the picturesque beaches, it is a country that demands you take the time to explore what lies beyond the beaches. When in Rio last year covering the Billibong Pro I fortunate enough to be able to take some time and photograph the Favela’s along with some of the surfer’s I was traveling with. It was pretty amazing to see the beauty tucked away in such a poverty stricken area. The people we met were amazing and full of life, offering some incredible photo opportunities.

The Year of the Spartan

Sure Kelly may have won the Quiksilver Pro yesterday, but ask anyone who was watching the comp and they’ll tell ya, it was Michel Bourez standing out heat after heat. With a combination of pure, raw, strength and technical rail work, Michel was able to constituently drop high scores through a contest that saw more varied conditions than his home country of Tahiti has on its coast. His heat with Alejo was hands down the most entertaining heat of the comp, with both guys absolutely blowing up. It’s good to see Michel back in top form after last season left him with less than desirable results. After Snapper it’s clear that every guy on tour is going to be fearing the Spartan because tricks may be for kids, but Michel knows its pure power that wins titles.

The good old days…

This image is from Fernando de Noronha from a few years back. This is Monyca Byrne-Wicky and Koa Smith when they just groms, psyching to be on a surf trip in such a beautiful place. I have really been wanting to go back but for one reason or another have been unable to make the journey. Noronha is in my opinion one of the best places on earth.

It’s A New Year…

… and what a great one it is. If you feel that I have been neglecting you on here, well its because I have: but for good reason. I’ve been hanging with the family, taking my kids skating and surfing, enjoying the food weather and fun waves, and really just bringing in 2013 in style: and I hope you have as well. To top it off Gary, from Brownfish Handplanes was kind enough to send up two new planes for me to enjoy, and enjoy I have. The clean little afternoon days have been epic for getting in the water and going for a swim. On that note, enjoy these shots, go surf, and I hope 2013 brings nothing but good times and good waves.

Thanks Gary!

cant beat a morning view

Surfing Life Japan Cover

Indonesia is always a productive place for us. The waves, the light, the backgrounds, all make for some pretty amazing images. This year was no different, as I’m sure you’ve noticed from our multiple posts on this trip alone. We’ve had multiple photos popping up in Ads, mags, and online, but the topper (as it is for any trip) is scoring the cover. So we were obviously pretty psyched when Junji from Surfing Life Japan sent over their new cover featuring a flawless backside carve from Julian and Macaronis. The surfing during these days at Maccas was some of the best I have ever seen, and I promise you can look forward to more and more of the images from them popping up in the near future.

Congrats Nat!!!

To anyone who knows the guy, or to any one who has seen him surf for that matter, it comes as no suprise; but Nat Young has officially made the World Tour for 2013 and we couldn’t be more stoked for him! There isn’t a guy who has put in more work, or deserves this more than Natty, and let me tell you, big things are to come from this kid. For one, Nat hates to loose. Let me repeat that, Nat freakin hates to loose. You want to play a friendly game of backgammon in Indo with Nat, he’s giving you the death stare the whole time. Looking to shoot hoops on the North Shore, Natty’s throwin bows and looking to swat every shot you attempt. The guy is a fierce competitor and it shows in his Junior and WQS Careers, earning multiple titles and event wins as he’s climbed the rankings. If that isn’t enough to convince you to save a spot on your fantasy team for him, the kid’s backhand is some of the tightest, best surfing you are going to see on tour: mixed with a new school arial approach that holds its own with his peers. The kid from Santa Cruz has a fire burning in him, a fire to do proud by his town, a fire to prove that his name deserves to be up there with the best, a fire to go out and dominate guys on tour. My bet, rookie of the year, and a major force on tour for years to come.

Once again, congrats Natty!!!

Adriano Gets After It

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.

A Late Afternoon Surf With Legends Proves Productive

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

the shot turned ad

Well Wishes for Wilko

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.