Designated Photographer -- 12/2/00

Buddy, getting buried

Since I was drydocked from surfing, my crew designated me the official staff surf photographer. Well, being that this was a *relatively* free weekend, I decided to make good on my newfound job.

Makani couldn't make it, but Rich and Bud were up to the task of getting famous. They kidnapped me from my home at 6 AM and we promptly headed to 7-11, enroute to the North Shore.

Surf was smallish, but the conditions were sweet with light trades just starting to kick in. Unfortunately, from a photographer's viewpoint anyway, there was a bit of low clouds hovering near the Koolau's effectively blocking out direct sunlight to the lineup. Such is life.

Rich had to perform a #2, so we swung by Sunset. I hopped out and went to talk to some of the Rip Curl contest crew. Warren Ho'ohuli once again helped build the stand and was guarding the area. Bernie Baker was making the easy call to cancel the event for the day. And of course, Randy Rarick was overseeing it all.

We found a good vantage point at Rocky Point, with a nice "rock table." I parked my butt on a folding chair and set up a tripod over me. All my gear was strewn out over the "table" as I sat in relative comfort while Buddy and Rich had at it.

Because Buddy had broken yet another board (his fourth this year), he was riding his brother's old stick. Rich had just gotten a new board the day before, and intended on getting more used to it.

Because of the early morning overcast, I started off by taking some video footage of the boys with Buddy's MiniDV cam. I found it really difficult to pick them out in the fairly crowded lineup. I could only really pick them out by their flashy flowered surf shorts, and by the time I honed in on them and turned the camera on, their rides would be half over. Man, I forgot how challenging videography could be.

Both of the guys admittedly weren't on their A-game, although they could've fooled me. Buddy again chased tubes, while Rich worked the open faces more. Buddy got a very good last wave, pulling into and pushing through a deep one. Rich had some solid carves on his backhand, even though he complained about his tailpad to the point of ripping it off mid-session.

As for me, I was sitting fairly comfortably on shore, trying to capture it all on video and film. This retriever doggy came by after fetching a ball thrown in the water by its owner. Of course, he decided to shake off the water from his fur right next to me. Cracked me up.

After being a bit frustrated by the difficulty of videography (shooting maybe 15 minutes of footage), I switched to my 500 mm SLR and immediately started feeling good again about my documentation skills.

The lighting was still a bit spotty, but when it came through, the mid-morning sunlight just made the scene so much more vibrant and blue. Just what the doctor ordered.

I have to admit, this was one of the few times that Buddy and Rich were not the top guns in the water. There were more than a few pros prowling the lineup, contorting themselves in filthy positions and trying to recover from their precarious positioning. The action was almost too fast to react to. Milliseconds on the trigger finger can make all the difference between an epic and a throwaway photo.

I managed to bang off 45 shots before having to hang it up and go home. We'll see how well the designated photographer did.

    Unknown under overcast skies

    Buddy--no problem on the borrowed stick

    Rich was killing Rocky Lefts

    Buddy, putting his weight into it

    Rich, setting up for... (1 of 2)

    ...a solid off-the-top (2 of 2)

    In competition circles, they call this a triangle

    Buddy, pulling in

    Brotherly love

    Unknown, smiling for the camera

    Buddy, throwing buckets again

    Rich, swooping

    Rich again, pushing it backside

    Unknown, throwing down a clean line

    Unknown, free-falling

    Buddy barrel (1 of 3)

    Buddy barrel (2 of 3)

    Buddy barrel (3 of 3)

    Kahea Hart, making his presence known

    Unknown, on a clean one at Gas Chambers

    Kahea, floating like a butterfly

Aloha from Paradise,