Film Folly -- 3/10/00

Light contamination on the left, water contamination on the right

A rockslide on the northeast side of Waimea Bay endangered traffic and threw the North Shore into chaos by literally dividing "The Strip" in two. The only way to drive around was to take the long route through Kaneohe/Hauula/Kahuku. Just a terrible situation.

A dying swell on Friday was enticement enough to take off from work and take the long way around.

The drive itself was very picturesque and lazy. The beauty was still no consolation to the frustratingly slow traffic, especially since the surf report stated that conditions were perfect. I was just stressing, trying to get there quickly, and the three construction projects on two-lane Kam Hwy just confounded the situation.

By the time I finally got there, it was 8:15. I dashed to the bathroom, then dashed into the surprisingly crowded lineup. I thought it would be empty with the access limited so much. Boy was I wrong.

The surf was indeed worth the journey. It was running an inconsistent 3-6' (Haw'n), and although a bit funky, when the wave came together, it was just so awesome.

This time, the JV surf team was out there en force. Surfers Braden Dias, Tamayo Perry and even little Mark Healey were out there charging. Bodyboarders were well-represented also, with the No Friends Hawaiian contingent out (Lanson Ronquilio, Spencer Skipper and Jeff Hubbard). Top gun in the lineup, however, was Mike Stewart.

As you could imagine, I didn't do so well in the stacked lineup. I sat away from the crowd and constantly took off too deep, straightening out in shame. After an hour of frustration, I started looking for an excuse to go in so I could at least record the session on film. My excuse came in the form of a five foot Backdoor peak.

I was paddling out and found myself in prime position for a shifty west peak. I quickly turned around and just went for it.

On my bottom turn, the wave just stood up down the line into one big wall. "Oh s#!t!" I remembered thinking. I pulled in this big barrel and for a split-second was treated to this absolutely beautiful cylindrical vision of liquid power. Then the shockwave from the lip impact bounced me off my board and into a "trough in the trough."

With eyes wide shut, I got pitched up and over with the lip. I deftly rotated my body around into impact position (back towards the reef), then got firmly planted onto the bottom.

After pushing off the bottom and surfacing in a daze, I gathered my board and caught the next whitewater breaker into shore. It was a great excuse to go in.

I quickly jogged up the beach after a few howzits, grabbed my good water cam, and hit it back out.

Returning to the lineup, I was stoked that conditions remained pristine. There seemed to be more water photogs pervading the water, so jockeying was tight everywhere.

From this point, it'd much easier to explain the photography part of the session with the resulting images:

1. I started off tentatively, taking a few shots from afar. Didn't want to anger the "serious" shooters by getting in their way.

Pic: Small marble tube

Pic: Thick Lip

2. After a bit of slight frustration having to sit so far back, I decided to try my luck at Backdoor. Lucked into a couple of nice bowls on the way.

Pic: A sweet takeoff

Mike Stewart also got a good bowl, which he finished with an air-360.

Pic: Mike's setup

3. Didn't realize there were three guys there too, but they were really cool. Unfortunately, the waves were breaking all over the place (not a good thing for a water photog there) and a patch of clouds decided to block the sun.

Pic: Liquid glass

4. After a little while, I decided to work my way back to Pipeline, nearly getting guillotined in the process.

5. I kinda got a bit disenchanted when the waves seemed to have started to back off. Shot off a few rushed shots, trying to just finish my roll.

Pic: Setting up for a small barrel

6. Suddenly, it started turning on, with a surprised boost of swell. I was left with only about six shots left, so I started getting a bit more selective.

Pic: The rest of the above ride

7. Some beasts came through and the thick crowd was on it, with guys charging hard. The best part of the roll came out here.

Pic: Tony-Boy takeoff

Pic: Unknown at the bottom

8. Finally finished the roll and went in, more than satisfied.

I quickly rushed out of the parking lot and very narrowly avoided getting tagged by an overzealous member of Honolulu's finest (he actually had a "chat with me"). Drove back around the long way, and got to work at my intended return time.

When I got home after work, I washed down my gear, but was shocked to find that the lock on the water camera's film door was loose! Damn!

Without thinking, I quickly opened the camera door. Oh no! I had forgotten to rewind the film back into the canister! I quickly shut the door, and tried rewinding the film, only to find that some moisture had gotten inside and was making the film stuck.

I ran to a closet and put myself in near total darkness. I pulled out the sensitive filmstrip, noticing that it was a bit damp. Slowly, ever so painfully, I managed to shove the film back into the canister.

Rather than sending it to a professional processor, I decided to chance the regular mass-market, Kodak Premium processing and hoped for the best. At that point, I wasn't too optimistic that it would turn out.

Three days later, I picked up the film, and was so stoked to find most of the pictures intact. There was light contamination on some pictures, and some bad streaks, presumably from the water, on others. But for the most part, there was nothing that a little bit of Photoshop magic couldn't tweak.

Overall, it was a poor surf session for me, but a great photo shoot despite the operator error.

Also check out the earlier shots from my disposable camera

Aloha from Paradise,