Kelly Slater at Pipeline
This was a cold rainy morning. I got up before sunrise and drove an hour up to north shore from Honolulu and was ready for a jam packed day of shooting. But when I got there the wind was horrible and it was raining. Which, even with a waterhousing, isn’t manageable to shoot. So I waited it out and by 10am the wind had disappeared and the rain backed off. It was a very quiet yet still deadly pipe day. Since it rained most the morning there wasn’t too many people out, which doesn’t happen too often. It’s every surfers dream to score good waves with little to no crowd. Even the pros. So I grabbed my fins, put on my wetsuit, and assembled my camera. I decided to shoot at 16mm because it was the widest lens I had and my favorite images are always the close ups with a wide angle. My favorite surf photographers would get their best work with wide angles. The only downside is I had to be sitting underneath the lip anticipating where the wave will break and hopefully not being caught. My camera was also about 10lbs and barely floated. So I walked down the beach ready to swim all day. However it would only be a short hour of a swim this day. Once I got out I noticed a bald surfer. First thought I was like Kelly Slater. But after shooting for 10 years there are a lot of bald people that surf well so I didn’t get too excited. Until this freak double up came out the back. What looked like a giant teepee of a mountain I could tell was centering all its energy for the perfect spot of the reef. I swam as close as I could knowing I didn’t have long. The bald surfer then began to paddle and dropped in. It was instantly that I knew it was Kelly Slater because of the iconic “no grab” of his rail on the drop. I pulled my eye off the view finder and out as far as I could trying to get as close as possible. And he passed me within a second or two. I knew right away that was good one but kept out there shooting. I wanted to keep pushing myself. However the window of time I found myself out at perfect pipeline would be ended with another front of rain and wind. The lineup was cleared within 30 minutes after. This shot represents to me the will to be there and always look for the windows.
20”x24”, 24”x36”, 30”x40”, 40”x60”