For many of us, our earliest memories of the beach are of jumping over waves. Even as infants we notice the peculiar rhythm of the ocean and how the waves come in groups. The green flag days when we were allowed to play were relished. Red flag days when the waves were too dangerous were marvelled at. This fascination with ocean energy leads people to become wave-riders, swimmers, lifeguards and even surf photographers. Seeking out waves of all shapes and sizes is what we do. Our connection to the ocean is strong. Knowing how waves work is essential, playing in their power is one of the most exciting things you can do, however you choose to do it. This book is a celebration of the raw beauty of waves around the world.
The photographers that help make it are a crazy bunch of obsessives that really should go get a real job as the rewards are paltry but we’re glad they weather all the storms to record Mama Nature’s finest show. Here’s a few of the gents:
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WAVE PHOTO?
Backdrops. A big powerful background in a lineup shot tells more of a story than a wave by itself. It creates a sense of curiosity and wonder “Where the hell is that?!” MARCUS PALADINO
For me, a good wave photo has to be something incredibly unique - whether it be weird light/weather combinations, a fresh angle or just simply one of those outrageous 'once in a blue moon' moments where you're lucky enough to be aiming your camera in the right direction. JOSH TABONE
I tend like think a good wave photo consists of mood colours and contrast. Plus some movement as well. Perfect sunny images are great, but dark images convey more of a story. RODD OWEN
A good wave photo pulls the viewer in It's the way that you mind surf that thing to death. Usually the wave itself might be unmakeable in reality but that 1/1000 second frozen moment tells us something different. There are a million different tiny details in there, there are reflections in every colour and shade imaginable and since it's something unique which will never ever happen in exact same way again ... it's just mind blowing to watch. A good wave photo will stop the viewer, it'll feed your imagination the more you look at it. It's unique and it's just something only a Mother Nature can paint. TIMO JARVINEN
To me a good wave photo is still a picture of a wave that is surfable. Or at least looks like it might be ... You can add any combination of amazing light, water clarity or exotic location but the key ingredient is the mind-surf factor. That mightn’t make me too popular with 90 percent of the surf photographers I see on Instagram, but their weird mutated slabs and oddly shaped backwashes don’t do it for me ;) SHIELDSY
WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT'S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE SHOOTING WAVES?
I was shooting from the water at a local break and the current was ridiculously powerful. So strong that I eventually got ripped around the point and into the low tide river mouth. I was struggling to get out of this position, as I was getting pulled out by the flow of the river but getting pushed in by waves breaking. I eventually lost my balance and got swept by a wave. Causing my housing to smash against a rock and flood my entire camera. By the time I had noticed, it was too late. To make matters worse, all of my equipment was uninsured. MARCUS PALADINO
I was in Mexico a few years back and had swam out at this wedgey shorebreak one arvo, to try and cool off from the extreme heat. It was a bit junky and the swell was forecasted to rise for some all time conditions later in the week. It didn't take long for the new swell to start to show her teeth, as each set that rolled through seemed to get bigger and bigger. I was slowly drifting further and further down the beach but that was cool, as there were less guys around and 'twas a little more hollow. A rogue A-frame peak caught me off guard and I was kinda stuck halfway - where I didn't know whether to swim in or swim out to it - I chose the latter and got stung pretty hard. The lip pitched and landed about one meter in front of me. I tried to swim deep but it was waist depth. Yeah ... nope! The power of Mother Nature is one not to be messed with, it ripped everything from my possession: fins, water-housing and even had a go at my shorts. In the chaos underwater, my water-housing (still attached to my wrist) coiled back and collided heavily with my chin putting me to sleep momentarily. When I woke up, I was face-down in the water which caused me to engulf a few too many mouthfuls of it. I spent the next hour or so coughing it all back up. I somehow made it back to shore, fought off the millions of mosquitoes along the track and jumped in the first taxi home. My chin bled profusely all the way back and lucky for me, the lady who owned our hotel was a nurse so she was able to help me out. She cleaned out the gaping wound and translated through her son that stitches were required asap. I quickly got changed and she rushed me off to the nearest hospital. It was packed to the rafters, full of screaming children and people much worse off than me. I saw a man with his collar bone protruding through his skin and another holding bandages around him over what looked to be gun shot or stab wounds - it was an eye opener to say the least - she insisted we try somewhere else. I arrived at a quiet place not too far from there, where I inhaled copious amounts of happy gas upon entry. 10 stitches later and I was out of there. But yeah, that's probably the worst thing that has happened to me whilst shooting waves. JOSH TABONE
Worst thing happened would be getting sucked over the falls while shooting Cape Fear many years ago, I injured my back and slit my head open. I also lost 10k worth of camera equipment . It's daunting place to shoot at times... RODD OWEN
By far the worst experience I've had when shooting waves is a passing of Malik Joyeux. That morning Pipeline was off the hook, maxing out first reef. I swam out and as soon as I got to the line up I had to dive under a set. First wave someone went, I was going to shoot it with fisheye but when I saw the lip crumbling a bit I opted to dive under it. A surfer took off and at that time I didn't spot it was Malik. I popped up from the other side and as soon as I saw that I was good from the next wave I heard a scream from the channel: 'Someone got hurt!'. It felt like being thrown under an ice cold shower, and then the next 10-15 frantic minutes of search were some I will never forget. I've been clipped once really bad with a first reef Pipe bomb, it happened during Christmas 2003 and it's still the worst beating of my life to date. A two wave hold down at La Graviere, creepy west bowls at Teahupo'o ... but those have nothing on losing a friend out there. TIMO JARVINEN
HAVE YOU GOT THE BEST OFFICE IN THE WORLD?
Absolutely. I get to be surrounded by nature and document split second moments that most people in the world don’t even know exist. I get to put myself in critical situations with talented professionals and come out the other side laughing historically in excitement. There’s not better rush in the world! MARCUS PALADINO
The office is getting a lot more crowded these days but that will never deter me. I'm pretty darn' lucky to have found something that I love doing, whilst making a living. Forever privileged to be able to call this my 'job' :) JOSH TABONE
At times definItely. Travelling to far and wide places is what makes me tick. Even if I'm not shooting it's what makes me tick. RODD OWEN
In my book it is the best, most beautiful office out there. It can have nightmarish elements from a real life cubicle life too. When the rip feels like some lower management dickhead who's on your case all day long. There's so much going on around you when you're swimming in the line up, that it's hard to describe the kind of euphoria you go through. Anticipation like that when it's pumping doesn't happen in any other 'office' I reckon. The energy flowing through you, all that it's pretty unique. TIMO JARVINEN