Here is my Re-Edit of December 7 2011.
I was so fixated on “surfers” when I first got to the North Shore of Oahu. Every Professional surfer around the planet comes to a 7 mile strip of beach to surf for 2 months. These are people I have looked up to my whole life, I was letting my excitement dictate which pictures I posted on my site. I’m a fan but I need to let the photography speak for its self.
Here is the original post from 12/7/11 (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/07/where-i-should-be/) (that barrel by Gavin Gillette is still awesome!!!)
These pictures show the raw power of “Rocky Point” surf break and the chargers that own that spot.
Pipeline is less then a 1/2 mile down the beach but somedays it’s so much heavier here
Rocky Point sometimes has a double break (Lefts and Right) and Un-fortunately some times they crash into each other. Today both were going off. Which lead me to grow eyes in the back of my head.
Backdoor Pipeline? NOPE! This is Rocky Point going off
Here is an underwater barrel shot of Gavin Gillette wave from the original post
I’d like to say they were all clean that day but most of the time I’m swimming thru a football sized field of white water haha
Best of the Winter
Winter is over time to make room for spring so in no particular order here are my top 10 favorite moments from the best winter of life…so far
#1 This is a picture of Kamalei Alexander at backdoor Pipeline (the most famous/deadliest wave in the world). It’s unedited (no photoshop, no crop) This was the first time I didn’t sit in the “Channel” and I ventured out into the line-up. I was so scared and really pushing the boundaries of my physical abilities. But this day I proved to myself that all my training and hard worked paid off.
From the Post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/16/backdoor-barrels/)
#2 This is a picture of a surfing Icon Randy Rarick, I met him on 2-4 foot day out at Sunset Beach. I was training on a small day and learning the contour of the reef. I knew the more I learned about the surf breaks on the North Shore the better I was prepared to leave alive. Randy introduced himself to me because he was intrigued (Established surf photographers don’t swim out to sunset on 4 foot days to “practice”). This chance encounter turned out to be the most influential day of my winter
From the post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/18/meeting-my-icons/)
#3 Jadson Andre at Rocky Point. He purposely threw this air right in front of me, He wanted me to get this shot. I realized at that point that people though I was a professional because my abilities to maintain position in the line up and my demeanor in and out of the water. I sent him a copy of this picture and he Re-Tweeted (He is in top 20 in the world of pro surfing)
From the post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/21/finally-some-swell/)
#4 This is just a random accident shot, wasn’t trying to get it… just following some no-name surfer on the wave. Magic moments are always there and anybody can have to wave of the day. Pro-surf photographers only take pictures of pro-surfers or huge waves… I take pictures of everybody because it isn’t a job… Its fun
From the post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/16/got-to-love-art-shots/)
#5 Waterproof Long exposure… I have been a photo dork for a long exposures and night time pictures are my favorite non-sports related type of photography. To get this picture I swam out to the reef at 10pm, set my tripod (I got a custom tripod mount for my water housing) used a flash light in a ziplock bag to illuminate the ocean. It was a 30sec exposure at an f stop of 11 ISO 800
From the Post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/13/waterproof-long-exposure-2/)
#6 I had permission to swim out to the Eddie Aikau Big wave invitational. Nobody besides invitees and a few photographers are allowed to participate in the opening ceremony paddle out. This is not televised and it is one of the greatest honors in surfing. With great humility and pride did I share those moments. December 1 2011 was the day I realized the true meaning of Aloha
From the posts (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/02/eddie-paddle-out-ceremony/)(https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/02/brotherhood-respect-unity/)
#7 Clark Little is the most famous wave photographer in the world. Here was my first attempt to capture the amazing shore break he has made iconic with Hawaii’s powerful waves. I took about 1000 shots to get this one keeper… not easy
From the Post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/19/clark-little-type-of-shots/)
#8 Because of my success on the North Shore of Oahu and my eye for “art” shots a mutual friend Val Frey hired me to get her the classic duck diving shot. I got paid to take pictures of a model… I repeat I got paid to take pictures of a very beautiful model
From the post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/10/duck-diving-photo-shoot/)
#9 That duck diving shot gave me enough credit to venture into Fine Art shots.
From the post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/29/kate/)
#10 This was the biggest meanest wave I swam out to all winter. Tom Whitaker at Honolua Bay Maui 1/4/12
From the Post (https://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/05/honolua-bay/)
Here is just a friend of mine saying goodbye to me at the Maui Airport… Makes me smile
Worth the Squeeze
I went surfing for a few hours today, sloppy on shore beach breaks. When you’re not used to it or just throwing one trick on a wave you find yourself chop hopping till you realize you’re already out of position. Plus I got to re-encounter the always friendly locals of Palm Beach County haha. People start to smile when you bust out a camera, But I’m a prick you burn me while I’m surfing good luck catching a free shot.
This kid Albert from yesterday showed up with some of his buddies and it was worth me grabbing my camera. They obviously grew up here and understood how to tear apart these waves or at least throw the “go for broke” tail-whips.
Sequence of Albert blowing tail, he was the only one really linking the rights (the board art is so punk rock!!!)
Any one that wears such awesomely bad 80’s style face stick better be able to surf… He’s going to have to land airs to pull off a neon wetsuit thought haha
Didn’t really grab any shots of there 3rd friend but doesn’t mean he should be left out, high school can be a cruel place and I don’t want him getting made fun of tomorrow.
I’m really still not used to seeing buildings on the beach, I grew up in New York where they protect the natural beauty of the beach and the North Shore of both Oahu and Maui don’t have a single building taller then 3 stories on the beach (except Turtle Bay). It just reminds me of the bumper stickers “KEEP THE NORTH SHORE COUNTRY”
Lost and Found
I had a lot of epic shots I took this winter but it’s funny how many I missed, It would be impossible to post all of them but I’m getting surf stoked all over again going thru my re-edit.
Seeing thru Fisheyes
Fisheye Lens are a staple of surf photography. Depending on how you angle the lens you can make waves look bigger, deeper or steeper, But the down fall is you can also do the opposite. When I first got comfortable enough to get close I realized that I then had to master the fisheye. I mess up a lot of great shots due to inexperience and being too far away. But I learned from my mistakes and how to crop a photo to hide the distortion. Enjoy
Check out the original and the cropped, it’s really hard to maintain a believable horizon
Bottom angle shots will dwarf a wave size
Water droplets on a dome shaped housing ports are a way of life and an image killer
Subjects on the edges of the image get distorted
Too Far away
Then It Clicked
Around the 3rd week in November the North Shore Lit up, It was time for me to step up or get out of the water. All the pro’s started to show up and the waves started to get heavy. If you remember the waiting period for the Haleiwa Reef Pro, 9 days without contestable swell then BANG.
I was so impressed by the talent that it made me hold position longer and try to get closer. It was the push I needed, I was getting drilled by outside sets and slammed into the reef everyday but the fear was gone. I wasn’t going to miss it, I wasn’t going home empty handed.
Adriano De Souza
I would stay out all day everyday, holding position, legs cramping, watching the never ending magic
Once my nerves started to subside and I started having fun,my pictures got exponentially better. These are all from November 12th, my 4th day as a water photog. I stayed in the ocean for over 7 hours that day (3 sessions), it was also the first day I sold my shots to anyone. A huge mile stone and the first day I felt like things started to click.
I’m a ham and rarely serious…
I started feeling comfortable getting close, I was out of position but at least I was close haha
This one is painful to look at because it shows I had no clue how to position my body, I took many beatings to figure it out. Flynn Novak bottom turn
I went out for my last session at 5pm stayed out until 7pm trying to figure out controls for fading sun shots.
Ok, if you haven’t been following me or new to my site, this was my effort to cover this winters surfing season in Hawaii. I had never taken a professional water angle shot before in my life and had no clue what I was getting myself into. I’m the first to admit I was way over my head, but it didn’t stop me from going for it.
This is the start of my re-edit of my photos from this winter. After reviewing my photos I’m amazed how far I came in 3 months. It just goes to show if you put your heart into something and tell yourself failure isn’t an option you can accomplish your dreams. These are my photos from the first 3 days with my water-housing (november 9,10,11). It’s not as easy as point and shoot haha.
How bad it this hahahahaha, it’s Gavin Gillette but It’s so blurry If it wasn’t for the logos on the board I couldn’t even identify him
I was so afraid I was going to drowned, I keep myself soooo far away from the action. Hawaii waves are more powerful then anything I have ever encountered. Humility was the best lesson I learned thins winter
Not only being too far, I didn’t understand how to frame a picture. I was unconfident in my abilities which led me not to even look thru the view finder I would just hold my arm out and hope for the best. Man I’m a kook
I must have taken 5000 photos into the sun before I figured it out. Here is my first attempt.
I’m sorry you have to look at such crappy photos but it’s important to me for you to realize how far I came. Here is a picture of my first sunset on the North Shore, (notice the lack of people and all the sand that was on the beach during the beginning of the season).
Ok I never tried Wind Surfing, seen a wind surfing magazine and have never shot pictures of wind surfers, That being said I think I did a good job. Met some nice wind surfers in the parking lot of Hookipa Beach park asked some basic questions about the sport and swam out. I’ve seen them bust crazy airs before so I was ready for that but I had no clue how fast the can move in with a slight shift of their sail. I really didn’t want to get hit so I played it cautious
Air of the Day!
The next 2 shots are of the same guy (SAME WAVE), I loved the color behind the wave shooting into the sun. Surfers never get that high so I wasn’t use to turning around looking for that image.
Here is an older guy that was leaning so deep into the wave, not sure if that a good thing or not. But I though it was cool
This kid was killing it!
GOOD JOB? YES OR NO
Duck Diving Photo Shoot
So a few days ago I had a photo Shoot with my friend Val Frey. She operates a Billabong Surf Camp here on Maui (www.WavesHawaii.com (best school on the island)). She wanted to get the classic duck diving photos so for an hour all she did was swim under wave after wave. The girl is a super athlete and did it with a smile on her face the whole time.
900 photos, over a 100 keepers, this was the hardest editing I had to do all winter
So this is going to be a different type of post, I gave out a bunch of business cards today and told everyone I would post their picture. My gift to everyone…
Email me if you want the sequence
Started off at rocky lefts
This guy was ripping, he was dress partly as Santa, said he couldn’t surf in the jacket. 3rd picture is him getting clipped by the lip. Dude came right back out for more. It’s my pleasure to shoot people who go for broke
Here is a bunch of shots from Gas-Chambers, some big sets and heavy drops
A funky session
I don’t think anyone likes to get skunked but it happens. I got a few shots but I’ll let you be the judge if they are quality. No excuses play like a champion 🙂
I like this kid (I think his name is Rico?) he always goes for broke
The low tide @ Rocky Point has been super shallow this week, this guy is over like 2 feet of water
Why old guys don’t do airs
So in reality we all come to the North Shore to get seen. Stephanie is some North Shore homeless women that sells Lemonade at the Beach at Pipeline. She spends all day at the beach with the biggest smile on her face and is open to coming up to anybody. Came up to me today at the beach and I had the pleasure of talking to her. Told her that she had become a north shore celebrity just by being in the right spot at the right time.
She told me she got punched in the face yesterday by a local girl because kids where harassing her for being on surfline.com and she was telling them to get away. The lady weights maybe 90lbs and is super sweet, couldn’t see her harming a fly. It just goes to show, that everyone is fighting to get scene here and it doesn’t end in the water.
Stephanie best of: Winter 2011 Click here to see the 2011 surfline.com north shore yearbook
And her Video on turkeymelt.com (she shows up half way playing with Alex Grey and Timmy Reyes
It’s unlike me not to post for a few days but I’m honestly happy to be drying out for a few days. I’m giving my wounds, cuts and bruises time to heal. If you have never been to Hawaii the surf breaks are over a very hard and sharp reefs. It hurts a lot when you get smashed into them. I will be exploring Maui for the next few months so I promise to post a bunch of new and exciting locations soon…
here are a few pictures I liked that I didn’t have room to post in the last few weeks
Here is Myles Padaca during the break for the final at sunset, He was a caddy and got the place to himself for 40 minutes
Here a guy getting burnt at pipe and the other guy getting an epic barrel, happens a lot at pipe, kind of suck but it’s reality
And Jamie O’Brian home at pipe
Don’t be hating
I was off today, couldn’t figure out what to do with my self. Got suited up, camera ready, walked down to Pipe…… and sat on the sand watching it for at least 3o minutes. Wasn’t a point to get wet, pipe was a gnarly drop into a Mush Burger. It bothered me that I didn’t want to get in but to get any type of shot I would have got blasted over and over.
I was Hating all day, worked out for two hours then just walked back and forth to the beach over and over again….. Same story. It drives me crazy, cause there was waves but nothing I wanted to shoot or surf.
Around 2pm I lost it, grab my camera and hiking gear and climb the Ko’olau Mountain Range behind sunset. I know, I’ve been told repeatedly not to climb there, It’s either private land or military. But I don’t listen well…
Towards Sunset/Rocky Point
The whole North Shore
Found these glasses on the street at the beginning of my hike, so I gave my best “better not be hating look”
Good Morning Pipeline
Got up early to get out at pipe before the glorious sun ascended over the Koʻolau Mountain Range which frames the North Shore. I was feeling artistic from the moment I left my house, the air was crisp and I was good spirits. I’m really grateful for my time here and I want to make the best of it. I hope my images warm your heart wherever you may live…
And here is a barrel shot because it is Pipe 🙂
Swam out to Backdoor today, Pipe was firing too, I just liked the shape of Backdoor today more. (for people that don’t know they are the same wave, Backdoor is the right, pipe is the left).
No more talking, you say the word Barrel and nothing else matters
Kamalei Alexander getting shacked
Ok I’m not hatting here but I had to post this. I don’t know if Benji Weatherly gave up or literally fell asleep during this backdoor wave. The wave was not a closeout and pealed down the line with Benji so I know he didn’t fall but I have no clue what was going on during the wave.
I can’t end a post with Benji and his narcolepsy so here is Dylan Goodale about to get shacked
Rocky Point is Home
So I live across Kam Hwy from Rocky Point Surf Break (probably the most photographed beach this season due to the lack of Pipe swells) so there is always talent at my beck and call. I could live here forever but I wouldn’t want to be any where else right now.
It’s impressive to see a 13 year punt an air this high and land it. Names Rico
If you have ever surfed Rocky Point you have seen this guy, his name is Rasta, nice guy just don’t take off on his wave
We are both starring at the same thing, the lip
Wanted to show the change of color from the rights to the lefts, both these pictures were taking within 10 minutes
I don’t post blurry pictures too often but I literally get hundreds a day, Water is a hard medium to shoot in and if you haven’t noticed to sticks to everything. This u shape blur actually worked as it blur out the back of the surfer and the sun refection on the wave. Picture was taken at 5:30 right before sunset
O yeah and it’s Holly Beck, you might have heard of her!
Velzyland Afternoon Session
The crowds were out in full force today, I wanted to get away and have a fun session, no better place to find smiles then at Velzyland. Meet a bunch of happy people today, gave out a few business cards, so lets see if any of them go home and check out the site. I’m not trying to make money on small day like today, just go out and have a good time. Mahalo for checking it out
So I don’t usually post pictures of bodyboards but these guys where mad cool and actually funny
Few good ones rolled thru
I got a bunch of pictures of this Young scrappy kid, reminded me of my self. He would paddle his brains out to get into every wave. Kept going the whole time I was out there, gave him a card hopes he checks it out.
WaterProof Long Exposure
So when I first got my water housing I wanted to see how far I could push the limitations. If have you never seen a water housing it has very limited controls (more access, more points that could potentially leak). So a lot of planning needs to takes place before you start trying a long exposure in the ocean. It’s not like you can just stop and readjust, water is bad for cameras. Here is the first attempt ( Click here for first attempt), I went out a little earlier this time to get the sun as it was setting. Turned out OK but I still have a lot of conceptualization before next time.
An underwater sunset, the blue strip down the middle is actually a channel thru the Reef, there is a sand path and since its lighter it picks up the reflection of the water better then the reef (HOW COOL IS THAT!!!)
I tried to Un-Focus here to make the illusion of standing in clouds, the shore waves weren’t that strong so it picked up the refection, otherwise it would have looked like vapor.
Add a light to this one to show the color of the water as a contrast against the red sky (it’s been raining the sky has a reddish purple hue)
And here is just a picture of the house on Rocky Point, I use it everyday as a reference point while surfing and shooting so I’m always thinking about it. (reference point: positioning point on land so you can line yourself up in the water to be in the best spot for the wave)
Pipe Master Finals
Today was the finals of the Pipe Masters and the Triple Crown of surfing. I stayed out shooting all day. It was a great ending to an amazing contest season for me and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. Kieren Perrow took home the win and John Florence the Triple Crown.
Kieren Perrow in the final
Since Slater sells heres a shot of him from the Quarters, went backdoor every wave so not too many shots of him
Really wanted to see Evan Valire in the finals he was amazing to watch out there.
Michel was one heat away from the Triple Crown Title you could hear him in the water, he was really pissed off that he didn’t make it, there is no second place in the triple crown.
Relaxing back stage and just stoked he was wearing a $10,000 watch, haha
So it was kind of a dream come true today, being out at pipeline with only 4 guys in the water. Pipe is a scary place for photographers too, we may be sitting in the channel but rouge sets and inexperienced surfers will kill you. All seriousness, I don’t recommend going in the water at pipe and anybody that respects the place says the same thing. I didn’t stay out long but after you see up-close John John get a perfect 10 it’s not going to get better. (Perfect example the next heat Aamion Goodwin beat Taylor Knox with a combination of two waves for a total of a 2.20)
My favorite wave of the day was John Florence 10 point ride. You can see him here stalling with both hands to get in the perfect position. Awesome
Kai Barger was in the same heat as John John but he didn’t have a chance, had some great waves
Evan Valiere not only picked the perfect waves but was super deep and under scored in my book
And Ian Walsh Talking off on this monster, look at this thing throwing!!!This is the biggest crowd I’ve seen on the North Shore so far this season, went on like this for about half a mile, impressive they way they handled it, even if there was a crazy line for the bathroom
Where I should be
If this was my career I should be at Pipe or OTW today, being seen and making a name for myself. But the waves were better at Rocky Point today hands down. And I love Rocky’s cause it weeds out the weak photog’s, it’s not a sprint like Pipe, it’s a straight up marathon. A current runs across the point and if you’re not a strong swimmer you’ll either be in the impact zone or down the beach in 5 minutes. Not saying I’m superman, I just know how to handle the break. (took a lot of beatings to find out)
Gavin Gillette was on fire today, either that or he was just everywhere I was
Here is what you have to take off on to make the wave, not a day for beginners
My favorite Surfer of all time Mark Occhilupo, I tried to get a picture of him on a back side wave, I must have shadowed him for 20 minutes (in the impact zone) getting pounded but he only took lefts. Still stoked haha
I really enjoy shooting with the guys from Japan, they are very respectful and humble in the water and on land. Plus they SHRED, so I’m compiling a bunch to send over to the Japan Mag’s at the end of the season.
I was shooting from underneath with a fisheye which makes this wave look a lot smaller then it really was, after this ride I was caught inside and instead of trying to get back out thru a football size field of white water, I saved my energy and went it.
Ok and Sterling Spencer cause the dude makes me laugh (the shots kind of grey but so his humor so it’s all good)
First good Pipe Day
Pipe was on today and everyone was on it. Not crazy crowded, but if you didn’t know what you were doing you had no place being there and the line up got thinned out pretty quickly. Weirdly enough I think there are a lot of people out there surfing that don’t even try to take waves, they just want to say they were surfing pipe on a big day. 40-50 guys out and the 3 hours I was there maybe 20 different guys caught waves.
Kelly Slater got out there and within 10 minutes took this inside bomb right at me, Kind of wish on shots like this I was shooting with my Fisheye
Freddy P showing us what not to do on a wave, he dropped into a huge set wave after this but my shot was blurry so the falling picture is going to have to do.
Empty one and a few unknown rippers