Last week swells came in and set off Mavericks, prompting the opening of the season. Thanks to an invite from Ken Collins “Skindog”, I was able to score a spot on a boat with other photographers to shoot the massive waves. Hats off to Skindog for the incredible opportunity to witness such beauty and power, and capture the moments to tell the story.
Today I went out to Mavericks to shoot the big wave surfers for the first time. I learned a few things: I need a larger lens, boat and to arrive early in the morning for the best light. All the same, I still had some fun shots:
Since I’ve started sticking around the Bay Area more often, I’ve devoted more of my time to surfing and shooting surfers. I love the sport almost as much as I do climbing and the fast action, distance from the subject and reflections of the water add new challenges to shooting. I’ve also learned that there is a small group of surfers that are so dedicated to their sport that they pull themselves from their warm beds each morning and hurl themselves into the 53 degree water of the Pacific just to get the feeling of riding a wave before work. It’s crazy and I love it.
This morning I joined in. I woke up at five, picked up my buddy, Rich, and headed to the Marin Headlands for a morning surf session, “Dawn Patrol”. Conditions were typical: sloppy, erratic, foggy and misty. Rich and were the first ones to the beach, followed by beaten-to-hell Nissan camper with a lone, hippie surfer. We groggily suited up in the mist, then hurled ourselves into the water. As the minutes passed, a few more surfers of all ages steadily glided their way into the ocean, all smiling at one another as they awoke the same way with cold water smacking their faces. I stayed out for a few beatings in the choppy swells, then began to feel lured back to the car to grab my camera, wanting to tell the story of these few souls that brave the cold starts just to get their turns in before work.
Yesterday I went out to the Marin Headlands for an afternoon surf session. The conditions were pretty typical of summertime here: choppy, windy and inconsistent, but without fog. Out here, it’s a treat to get an afternoon that’s rideable and not cloaked in misty fog. Despite the conditions, I went out and managed to get some shots of the other few guys in the water riding whatever they could. The light was nice for a few minutes before setting behind the bluff north of the beach and cloaking us in cold, windy shadow.