Lens Flare -- 11/17/05

The waves were dreamy

Date: November 17, 2005
Time: 1530--1700
Spot(s): Banzai!
Conditions: Afternoon Delight
Swell: Solid wnw
Surf: 6-10' Haw'n

Words: No, I didn't surf. Too gnarly and too crowded for my meager skills (even though the day before was bigger and nastier). However, after standing on the shore for 20 minutes looking for a lull, I finally ventured out to take some pics from the impact zone. Best seat in the house! Shot some with my Nikonos V first, then used the cheap Sony DSC-U60.

Great wnw angle. Waves were cresting on Second Reef at times. Swell sometimes swung around from the north, providing that extra pucker factor. Crowd was pretty rabid, but the surfing pecking order was still maintained.

Lighting was horrible. The sun was coming in and out of clouds and shooting right into the camera. I was manually setting my Nikonos and know that I underexposed many of the shots by accident. The sun also created some massive lens flare on the Sony digital images. But with patience, some nuggets in photography could be had, with beautiful sparkles, and misty offshore spray.

The photographers gallery was pretty mellow. I kind of got in the way a lot, especially since my lenses were wide at 35 and 33 mm respectively. However, there was another reason. The low tide coupled with the west swell angle was drawing water off the reef and sucking us into the impact zone. We had to constantly be on vigil, and I didn't get it until a little later in the session.

During one lull, I checked how shallow it was where I was treading water. Just dunked my head before tapping bottom. Sheesh! Only 6-7 feet deep.

Despite that, the waveriders were charging hard. Very little hesitation; just balls out. The level of skill was pretty impressive.

Towards the end of the session, we saw Liam McNamara take off (with his slow press up) on a cresting Second Reefer. The thing just unloaded on him when it jacked at Pipeline proper. All the photographers were watching for him to pop up from his wipeout somewhere near his board. He actually broke his leash and was already being flushed down the beach.

After watching that, I was ready to head in. As I was making my way closer to shore, a jetski dude came by with Liam's board--he thought it was mine. I told him I'd take it in for Liam, and I scored a nice belly ride to shore.

On shore, I inspected the board and found a lost skeg and some serious pressure dings on the deck tail. I think it was Rick Williams that suspected that the board got damaged by being shoved into a hole. Liam was recounting how, during the wipeout, he was aware of the reef and that he didn't touch bottom. I kind of shuddered just thinking about how he tumbled in the tube before going under.

Sometimes photography can be almost as fun as the waveriding experience itself. Almost.


Aloha from Paradise,