Press Shoot -- 5/27/02

The shot that made the morning paper

I'm an admitted glory-hound and sucker. How else could you explain why I chose to shoot a surf contest rather than ride excellent late season North Shore? Well, there's a little more to the story than that.

Memorial Day was my surf day, so I was trying to decide which shore to surf at. Town was expecting a boost into the four foot (Haw'n) range while the Country was waiting on some overhead surf also. However, all rational thought got thrown out the window when I received an email from an old friend.

I've been working on and off with Reid Inouye for well over a decade now, and when I got his somewhat frantic email on Sunday, I knew he was reeling in a favor. The Local Motion/Ezekeil Surf Into Summer was happening over the weekend at Ala Moana Bowls and he wanted a photog to shoot for the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper.

When I called him, I asked about the other photographers. Bernie (Baker) was in Indo and Warren (Bolster) was sick (not looking good). So the third string was being called in. I was a bit wishy-washy at first, but like I said I'm sucker, so I told him I'd do it.

Lighting would be challenging in the morning, looking right into the sunlight on the Bowls lefts, but there really wasn't much of a choice. There were very calm winds, which eventually would lead to convective onshore seabreezes by late morning. So I planned to shoot the early heats, even if they weren't finals.

Pre-contest surf

I went extra early to get at least some water time to myself. Was the second one in the water behind contest assistant Ronnie. Surf was disappointingly small, with a few shoulder-high waves coming through. I caught a few, but nothing even close to being good.

Paddled in at around 6:40, got my gear, and got a fun jetski ride back out to the lineup from the water patrol gang just in time for the start of the first heat of the day. The heats that I shot included: Juniors Repo (short for repechege, a French word, I believe), Masters Repo, Boys Semis 1 and 2, and Bodyboarding Juniors Finals.

The tide was low, so I actually could pretty much stand on the reef while shooting. As expected, the lighting was real harsh, coming in from a low, acute angle. To compensate, I tried taking some shots from behind the rider, no small task since it was a contest situation and I was not supposed to get in the way (choke, gasp!).

Mike Latronic, former H3O partner in crime with the late Mark Foo, joined me in the lineup shooting video for his current cable show Board Stories. I complimented him on the premiere of his new newspaper-type mag that he put out based on the show. We tossed around ideas and in the end I offered to submit some photos and stories.

Because I was shooting a wide angle, I had to get up close and personal with the riders. Consequently, Tron shot a lot of video of the back of my head, but he was good with it. I hope the contestants were OK with my positioning, because admittedly some of them fell right after passing me. It's always a concern of mine to stay out of the way, but I think they understand that getting intimate with them gives the opportunity to have their pic go to press.

By the time the bodyboarders hit the water, the winds turned onshore, "uglying" out the surf. It was OK because I was just running out of film right then. So I caught the jetski express back to shore.

Cruised at the contest area, talking story with the crew while waiting for the Advertiser reporter. It was quite amusing that a mother of one of the competitors in the Boys semis came up to me asking whether I got a shot of her kid. She wanted to be a good surf-mom and get pics of her son surfing. I can fully understand and told her that I'd oblige assuming I shot him.

I eventually hooked up with Advertiser sports writer Dayton Morinaga and we had a good chat before I had to run home. I recommended to him one boys division surfer that I shot, Weston Hori, who I thought I got a good shot of and who I fully expected to win his division given his surfing prowess.

When I got the newspaper the next morning, I was stoked with the shot. Although it wasn't the shot I thought of using, I understood why Dayton chose this one. It was a really tight shot of the surfer (a different shot of Weston, who ended up winning the Boys division). Although he was backlit, it was a good close up (must've been about 6 ft away) and was framed nicely with the city skyline and Diamond Head in the background.

That same morning I received an email from Buddy, who surfed Rocky Point the day before. The pictures told the story. The North Shore went off that day with clean, glassy conditions.

Yup, I'm a sucker.

Another pre-contest shot

Shooting from behind

Note the somewhat weak, warpy wave; more the rule than the exception

Floating over the hollow section

Setting up for a floater

This roundhouse was performed right around me

Good snap, bad framing

Hard carve

Glassy takeoff

Nice peak

This is the one I thought would be the best--again, bad framing

Bodyboarding girl scores a nice one

Btw, this is what I missed and Buddy scored that day :-(

Aloha from Paradise,