Monday, 15 February 2010

14th Feb. This Is It....Last Day !

Mark Foo....A guy I looked up to with high regard as I was growing up surfing. He died at Mavericks in California chasing the ultimate big wave thrill. Waimea Bay was one of his favourite spots as it was gauranteed to deliver the goods. This plaque is in the park as you walk into the bay itself.

The Waimea Chapel. A peacefull spot overlooking the bay................. until the big swells hit, then nothing is peacefull.

It's 10.30pm here on my last day, doing all the stuff that needs attending to before an international flight the next day. Just had a phone call I've been waiting for so now I can pretty well pull stumps and try and get some zzzz's. Were all set to cruise across the island tomorrow at about 4am, all I have to do with any luck is wake up and Tim will be my chaufer accross to HON. Daytime flight, so no sleep by the look of it. I will touch up this blog and add some final things once back in Australia. See Ya, and it's been a blast I have to say ! I've had the waves and I'm very satisfied. Aloha Hawaii....until next time !

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Saturday 13th Feb... Editing, Submitting and Blogging..........and ready to go home !

Blogging.........a picture of my screen as I'm doing this stuff to you. Last nights edit of the Kalani Chapman post I think.

Not much to blog about for last two days as I've been deep in editing and submitting territory...waves are average (compared to what I've had) so am taking the time to do computer work here while I have quiet time and uninterupted space. It's amazing living totally on my one at all (in the house that is, quite a few outside though) family, dog, phone calls, work, bike, pool, gardening to tend to etc, etc....just nothing at all to do except what I choose to do, walk down the beach, have a sleep, go mix it up with the boys/people around this house or do computer work...It gets quite lonely sometimes actually. As I've said before, this is no place to be for more than a few days if you dont surf or follow surf. When the waves go quiet and you've got no car....well, throw your keys away for a day at home and see how you go ! I still totally love this place though as it always delivers what I want...full stop.

Wednesday is going to take a lot of living up to, so I'm happy in my house space (to a certain extent), and the computer work has to be done. Just downloading and filing my work each day can take hours, eg...Wednesday I shot I think 11 or 12 gig of RAW images. That takes time to download, process and store so I know where to find it again quickly when needed. I have shot over 50 gig on this trip so far. Then there's the blogging to do after all that's done.
Paul.......hope your on to this blog now, just sent you an email....9pm here.

The crew for the Bethany Hamilton movie are back in the yard tonight as I speak.....lots of action outside, so all of a sudden the "tiredness" has been knocked out of least for the next half hour or so anyway.

OK....your'e wondering why there's a shot of a slab of Pacifico beer as an opener for today....don't really know actually, just saw the beer, bought a slab cause I like the stuff, and as I've been confined all day, that's the first image I saw after downloading, so I posted it. It's probably about the finest, attractive and most colourfull beer carton I've ever seen too.
I'm out of here for tonight....back tomorrow.
Back again.......11.10pm, same night, heaps of action outside. Another wave of movie people have just turned up...trucks and vans moving in here everywhere. I will take a pic of the yard tomorrow and post it. This is a lot bigger operation than the last time a week or so ago. Out again !

Friday, 12 February 2010

Down Time...Friday 12th Feb.

Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. This is the last place in the world you would want to be if your not somehow involved in the surf culture or industry.
Yes that's rain you see out the back window of the house overlooking the escarpment over the top of the roof of the machinery shed that was used as a mess hall for the movie dudes..........and they're coming back in the wee hours of tonight / tomorrow morning, (2am I'm told to expect the traffic to start moving in) to set up camp again here while they film at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach, which we are pretty well in the middle of.
Sooo, It's probably going to be one of those nights again....not much sleep but for a different reason other than excitement.
The dynamics of the house change yet again !
The last two days have been all photo editing etc,etc, due to weather and I have to say, I haven't even got to the file of "Big Wednesday" yet...god forbid...12 gig of files for that one alone. I am getting a bit "cabin feverish" though from all this inside business.

I had a very quick flick through on the upload day obviously and I can tell you one thing. There are images in there that make me gag, these guys are just insane.
The one posted in my last post (just that alone without trawling through all the rest) of Kalani Chapman is just unbelievable....the more I look at that thing he is on, the more I realise what I witnessed here and that wave alone made this entire trip worthwile....seeing something like that unfold in front of you live on first reef is a life changing experience. I'll sit on the beach all day every day for that.
I remember talking in that post about just biding my time and waiting for someone to pick a beast off out at second or third reef and bring it right on into first and away from all the salt spray going on...Kalani delivered the goods on that ride, there's no shit whatsoever about that, uncle Owl (Chapman) would be well proud of him. I know Takayuki Wakita also brought one or two home but I just haven't found him yet. Speaking of Tak, as I said, I was talking to him at Pipe the other day, I recieved an email from him today thanking me for taking photos of him....he was, in his words "stoked to see them" and was very appreciative in his words to me. That makes me keep shooting and feel like it's all worth it !

I know I've said it before outside of this blog..... Just coming to this place and sitting on the beach when a day like this goes down is just what I said (life changing). I could not believe what I was seeing that day.
There's a party going on down in the shed....8pm. I'm going down to have a chat and a beer with the boys and make the most of it as the movie crew will be here tomorrow and they will be taking over the shed again....back soon and I'll continue.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

10 FEB...Not Waiting Any Longer...It Arrived Last Night.

And this is how it ended tonight at about 6.30pm for me, (well the shooting side of things anyay, (now I've got computer work for the evening as I edit pics and blog to you guys).
This first image....Jamie O'Brien slamming his arm into the wall of a first reef Pipe macker to wipe off some speed and get barreled of his head all the way back to the beach and up for a couple of coldies I dare say. He rode that sucker all the way in, and by looking at this pic, his arm would have just about been poking through the back of that thing. The Volcom house went berserk when he pulled this one off, there were yells and whistles erupting out of that place they would have heard back in Honolulu.

What a day is all I can say, and there's heaps more to come...don't know if I can take much more....(just kiddin').

I was a bit concerned about shooting Pipe today as you would know from previous blog posts as I thought it would be turning itself inside out and getting really screwed up, but there is some fine images on my hard drive at the moment I will say and I didn't have to leave home and go up to Waimea.... just wandered down the beach with my gear and then wandered back again, all of 40 seconds either way, even came home for lunch today as I ate my sanga over there early.

It's hard shooting here when the swell's this size as all three reefs are lighting up, and there is bucket loads of salt spray in the air between the camera and the riding crew out the back. I go to focus on a ride out at second reef, and all the camera wants to do is focus on the spray plume of the monster firing down the line at first reef with no one on it, so you just try and bide your time and wait for the "clear" shots. Every now and then someone takes off way out at second that gets my attention and I'll track and focus them all the way into first with the camera if it looks like they're going to have a push at getting schacked at first reef.... Stay focused on them constantly and just hope they put in a charge and go smokin' into a screaming pit at first.....and yes, that's usually what they're aiming at. When that happens it's just totally nuts. They are usually the money shots as you've been concentrating on them all the way, so your "on the job and sharp".
Today was one of those days that will be filed in the memory bank for life, and I think as the swell drops off a bit, things will get cleaner and a bit more under control.... there will be lots more where this came from.
I'm going to be totally flogged when I get home....if I sleep on the plane the hosties will be wondering why I've got the permanant grin happening....god knows, I've had a lot of reasons for that over here this trip !
Hope you're enjoying the pics and the blog in general.

Aloha and mahalo.

Coming in......going out.

Kalani Chapman and friend...they were both grinning at each other when the pulled over the shoulder.

A bit of carnage out the back.

This is how the day started...perfect size pipe with trades and sunny skies. Then it just grew like a monster ! Takayuki again loving life I'm guessing.
When he came in today, his family were right behind me again, so he dropped his board etc right next to me. This time I had a chat to him. Told him to check himself out on my website from the 05 - 06 season. He is a very humble and lovely guy, easy to talk to and very polite and obliging.

Kalani Chapman...warp speed on first reef trying to stay ahead of trouble. It didn't work, eventually breaking his board in two.

It's two days since I wrote those three lines above and I'm back in here editing this post....The more I look at this image, the more messed up my head gets. This is just an insane fractional second of a wave that was totally likewise, and it's all happening just off the beach and right in my face. I've seen Pipe do some wild stuff, but this......well, to me it's something else. I ain't never seen anything throw as hard as this sucker. That is totally off the planet and Chapman is all over about control, your lookin' at it in one. When I talk about "west swell" at Pipe...this is what I'm meaning. When there's a lot of west in it, this is what happens. The wave hits the reef at just the right angle and peels down the reef perfectly and at full speed making for a very long sharp wall and a blisteringly fast ride.
I'm guessing it will be a long time before I ever shoot something like this again. And you can be assured that this will be the new "full wall shot" right up there next to Dave Wassel out at the factory when I get home.....unless I find something that "ups" this when I get to go through that days files, and I highly doubt it. Click on pic to enlarge, this is a must with this one.

I just had to put this in here even though I dont do the boogers too much.... The spongers were falling from the ceiling today, and this guy is a dead set lunatic....freefalling half way down the face with his legs nearly coming back over his head, then smashing back onto the face and taking off like the proverbial rat up a drainpipe.

This is what we're dealing with today. I'm home for a quick time out and post a couple then back. Takayuki Wakita pulling rank.

6.15am ...just arrived back from checkin' out the beach, there were about 8 guys lined up in the dark looking down into the mayhem waiting for the sun to come up so we can see whats really rolled in and it's as up as up can get. The waves are washing right up the beach over the sandbags at OTW and up into the walkway. I'm about to get my gear together and bolt. See you later.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Waiting For The Big One....9th Feb.

First up I owe a major appology to all who have tried to comment...after talking to Wendy back home I just went in and checked my settings, and YES, I had comments disabled, the problem is rectified....i was wondering why the only feedback I was getting was from Wendy and Samara...."Hey...I'm a looser why don't......"

Dont go there Chad....I've already had one remark on the screensaver on my laptop that you and Samara so kindly set up for me.

OK, now thats out of the way we'll get back into it.

Takayuki Wakita picking up the remains of some pipe warriors board and moving it up past the water line. A link to Tak is below.

A rare unridden one fires down the line groomed by the trades .

The Haleiwa Bridge...Once you've crossed this your at the start of all the action.

Roosters in the Foodland carpark on the Kam Highway. (I'm editing this post from today for the next paragraph)

What's with the roosters...? I've been to three islands of the Hawaiian Island chain over the years and I can definitely remember the freekin roosters on two of and Kauai. I'm sure they were on the big island two, but can't absolutely remember them.
Well, the story that I know and it's the only one I've ever heard, came to me on our visit to the island of Kauai in 2000 and it was from one of the fire fighters there from memory while Wendy was getting attended to (another story again). "Apparently" what happened was when one of the hurricanes hit the islands, all the chook pens etc got decimated as you would expect and the dam chickens all ran amok, no one bothered to round them up, they mated and it continues to this day.....chickens everywhere.Who knows, it could be total bollocks, but it definitely sounds plausable. Anyway, they're for real......Surf Alert. 10.48pm. I just heard the distinctive first big crack of something unloading on the reef over the road. It's here I swear to god, it has just hit. I'm going for a look. (End of edit) and end of me for tonight, but keep reading ok !

Another day of semi rest time. I say "semi" as waves are still up but not big enough to get excited about after such a run of perfection.

I'm writing this at 8.30am Tuesday Feb 9th Hawaiian time... 4.30am tomorrow for you Aussies back home. You will often notice conflict in my dates here (quoted dates and posted dates) that's because I'm blogging in the present but my laptop is still posting the dates as Australian eastern standard time.

Did I ever mention ther roosters around here, well, I'm about to now. There's hundreds of them, the noisy little pricks. I think I've mentioned how I always seem to wake up at 4.30am even though it doesn't get light until around 7am, well THEY are a real contributing factor to that. They start very early, actually they never seem to stop come to think of it, and are still going now as I write. So yesterday I acquired a pair of earplugs and firmly inserted them before venturing off to bed last night and it seemed to work to a certain extent as I scored an extra hours sleep this morning waking up at 5.30 or 6am.....still dark though. There is also a lot of road noise to contend with here as most of the locals travel completely accross the island to Honolulu to work as there is very limited job opportunity on this side, and the only way over there is via the road past my bedroom, so they are all leaving very early to make the trip. I only found out yesterday that my landlord on this trip works at Hickam airforce base right next to Honolulu airport and leaves for work at 5am, which has turned out to be a real godsend for me, as yesterday I was talking to her and asking the best way for me to get over to the other side of the island by 6am on the day I leave seeing that I don't have wheels, that's when she announced that she would take me that morning as Hickam is right next door to Hon International which is in turn saving me a hefty cab fare / hotel bill for that little excursion. Plus another bonus to that is that the charts are calling 19 foot faces for my last day here, so I can hang at the beach all day without freeking out about getting over to Hon that day to be at checkin by 6am the next morning.

Back with more later....Tim has just offered me a lift into Haleiwa and I've got something I have to do in there....gotta run.

Ok....been to the post office, picked up a few basic supplies and I'm back again. Just opened up my emails, and it looks like the two days of waiting is over. The next five days report is below and it's definitely back on again right up to when I leave by the look of it. A couple of days to breathe is a good thing as there's not going to be any more. Even though this swell is going to be a monster, with the amount of west it's going to have in it and the trades being on, I would say I'm going to be up for some of my best shots to date. I will be planning on hitting Pipe and OTW in the buildup and then when it turns itself inside out head down to Waimea then back to Pipe for the ease off. "the best laid plans of......bla, bla, bla). We'll see how it all turns out.

TUESDAY 02/09 GOOD........ SURF:4-5 ft
shoulder to head high. Fading old WNW/NW swell mix for the morning, then building new WNW swell shows later in the afternoon with larger sets!

WEDNESDAY 02/10 VERY GOOD.......SURF:20-25 ft
4-5 times overhead occ. 30 ft.... Solid WNW swell builds to a peak; moderate ENE trades...stay tuned

THURSDAY 02/11 VERY GOOD.......SURF:18-20 ft. 4 times overhead occ. 25 ft. WNW swell eases a bit.

FRIDAY 02/12 VERY GOOD......SURF:10-15 ft
2-3 times overhead occ 18 ft . WNW swell eases .

SATURDAY 02/13 VERY GOOD.......SURF:10-15 ft
2-3 times overhead. Possible new NW swell, stay tuned. End.

One thing is for certain ...The cameras are going to get a right royal flogging over the next five days thats for sure.
So on and on it goes, notice the last few words in the report for the last day. Just as it ends, it begins again.

Yesterday arvo after being in at Haleiwa I came back and went for a body smash down at pipe...water is beautiful and with the two days of smallish surf the clarity of it is absolute. You can see the reef on the bottom as clear as day. I'm about to head over for another session while it's still possible as there will be no swimming after today full stop ! Yeeehaaa.

Body surfing again this arvo but this time on a new beach that has just formed in the last day and a half right in front of the Oakley House at OTW....beautiful, made the most of it as it'll probably be gone again by tomorrow arvo with the new swell sweeping the reef off again.
10pm here and my day is shot to hell. Wendy just rang and filled me in on the home front. All is good !
I'm going down so I can brace for a rooster alarm for tomorrow morning and get amongst it as early as possible.
Mahalo for tuning in...especially you Luke !!!

Monday, 8 February 2010

7th Feb...Escarpment Climbing and Sunset Beach Walking.

Dave Wassel dropping into that bomb of a barrel I posted in previous blog . A link to Dave via Volcom is below.

Here they Come....the swell lines that is. Pipeline, Backdoor and Off The Wall from high up on the escarpment.

Sunset Beach on the "off day" when I went climbing.....It's bad when I can walk away from waves like this as I know there's better things coming.

A barrell firing down the line at Backdoor behind the palm trees.

The Old Abandoned House on the way to my climb.

A close up from a long way up. Pipe to the right of pic, Backdoor to the left.

There is not one single muscle in my legs that's not burning and cramping up from yesterdays activities Feb 7th....and I only have myself to blame. I've always wanted to get an overall view shot of this area, and have tried a few times to find my way to a vantage point to do so, but all have failed miserably with me coming to a full stop at a gate, sign, house or similar.

There is a lookout that's easy to get to by car over the Waimea Bay area, but none down this end that I've ever found or heard of.

Well yesterday I was talking to one of the locals in the house here about doing it and he said that he could hook me up with someone who could point me in the right direction if I was interested and would contact him and get back to me within the next few hours.

An hour later there's a knock at my door and he introduces me to Kevin. He say's that if anyone around here can get me up there....Kevin's my man !

We had a five minute discussion on the subject of what my reasons were for wanting to get up there, and then he suggested that I put my climbing gear on as it's wild country up there with pigs, boars, horses, extremely dense and hostile vegetation, near vertical cliffs and god knows what other surprises waiting for me. But I really, really wanted this shot, so I thought...lets go !

I race into the house, change from my cleanest T shirt into my dirtiest one and select my worst shorts. Top it all off by putting my Converse shoes on, (I figured that they got me safely up Mount Ranier and the Emmons Glacier and back in Washington that they would have to cope with this easily) ...grab my lightest camera, (which is none of them really), the 100 - 400mm lens, my phone and water bottle, throw them all into my Blackwolf backpack and I'm out the door, down the steps and standing next to Kevin near the big machinery shed looking for all the world to the locals like the climber from hell probably. Kev just looked me up and down and says...." ya'll ready now then", I go yep....lets hit it, and off out the gate we walk.

We head straight up the dirt road behind the house here that I went up the day before looking for access, get to the end and turn left just like I did the day before also and then run into the same gate as the day before with the big red sign on it stating in very obvious terms " NO TRESSPASSING...PRIVATE PROPERTY ". all of a sudden I'm thinking, maybe I shouldn't be following Kevin into a remote area after all and then flashbacks of "Wolf Creek" come flooding into my mind and I start spinning out sort of thing thinking how can I back out gracefully now....NO, can't do it I say to on we go straight through the gate, up a dusty dirt track past an old falling down house, three horses, a pig with 8 piglets running into the bush to hide from us, and untold roosters (have I ever mentioned the dam roosters around here by the way) then around a corner to be presented with the base of the escarpment towering up over me and a lot of what looked like rather thick forest.

Kevin says..."this is where it all starts gettin' a bit wild now" and off we venture into the forest and start following a creek bed up the ravine.

As we're walking along I'm making small talk with Kev to try and set my mind at, waves, Australia, .....anything to make conversation. As we are on the photography subject Kevin informs me of the fact that about a year ago one poor punter that had this same idea as me went over the side of this escarpment while getting his magic shot, fell half way back to Pipeline, survived and staggered out of the bush half a day later and was hospitalised for quite some time. Geeez, I was really feeling good by now I have to tell ya. Anyway, I thought I could just about sniff victory at this stage so there's no way I was woosin out now...onward and upward Captain Kev.

About another five minutes of climbing through a few barbed wire fences, negotiating the muddy creek bed and rocks, and stumbling through uncharted territory, Kev says to me......"this is it for me now ya hear....ya'll just keep headin' on up there and sort of head to the left and you should be fine". Then he turns around and starts heading back down the ravine. As he's walking away from me he turns around and yells back at me, "if you aint back by nightfall, I'll inform the authorities" I look around to face him he's already vanished into the thick bush and I swear I can't even see him. Off I go with more than a hint of trepidation.

I head in what I think may be the general direction and eventually come to a sheer rock face....backtrack for five, then spot another way I may pull it off. This happens about three times. When I'm just about thinking I should maybe give up and get the hell out of there I see another way that may forgive me and let me past.

Eventually, I get to within what I think is about twenty meters from the magic spot that I hope will deliver my pot of gold, but the trouble is that the only way up is quite litterally straight up a sheer rock face. I study it hard to work out if I think I'm capable of this calibre of mountaineering (free solo I think is the correct name for it, rock climbing with absolutely no safety gear or ropes) there is a lot of tree roots growing out of the rock face, and I mean a lot....they are everywhere. I pull at them and they are strong and solid and then I think....I can do this and up I start going, very quietly and with great care to always have three secure points of contact with the rock face.....testing every root or crevice I plan on hanging my weight on and making sure it would hold me. It was extremely strenuous I will say with all that weight on my back trying to pull me straight back off the face and back down to Pipe....I think of the young guy last year, but figure I'm older and wiser and push on. Five minutes later I'm perched out on a little outcrop bracing one foot against a small sappling and panting like I'd just seen god. I'd made it and it was stunning.

I found a spot and jammed my backpack into it as best I could...pulled out my camera and started firing, all the time not moving an inch as there was nowhere to change position to. I stayed up there shooting and one time, just one time only, very delicately and carefully changed lenses on the camera so I could get a close up of the house I'm staying in.

I just looked on in awe for about twenty minutes I reckon....quiet, peacefull and looking down over the "seven mile miracle" that is the North shore of Oahu. Man.....did I feel good then !

I finally got back down to the house where everyone was sitting around in the big shed, drinking and watching the superbowl gridiron game, pulled out the camera and scrolled through a few of the shots with everyone looking over my shoulder......Kev says to me "you sure got up there surely did, you Aussies are somethin' else. None of us locals would ever go up there"

The rest as they say is history and I've got a fist full of suberbly beautiful images that I'm very happy with and I'm still in one piece. I'm as sore as hell and in great need of a massage but will never forget that little adventure as long as I live.

After that I couldn't stop for the day, I was too amped up so I thought I would walk the KeNui bike path down to Sunset Beach, and then venture home along the beach itself. As I was saying in the previous post, I ran into lifeguard and all time hellman and fearless surfer Dave Wasell who was on duty in the tower there. I had an interesting and informative talk with him and then started the gruelling walk back up the beach home. When you walk on the beach here you sink up to your ankles every step you take due to the coarseness of the sand so it really is taxing and hard work. All the surfers and locals here do a sort of a semi jog / energetic walk type thing so they sort of bounce along the's a bit hard to explain that one. Anyway, I had a great day, and now it's beer o'clock.

Now, what will I get up to today, check in tomorrow to find out.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Reef McIntosh ...dropping into a pot of gold at yesterday arvos shoot at Off The Wall. I shot this pic from the front yard of the "Oakley House".

It's superbowl sunday over here today, so I'll probably have the beach to myself after about 2pm US time as apparently there will be some parties going on all over the states today, and to all who are....enjoy yourselves as I'm sure you will. I do know of one group that is definitely having a get together, so I hope it goes well for you guy's.

I had the good fortune to run into Reef McIntosh last night over at the "Oakley House", had a bit of a chat to him and as it happened he had just come out of the surf at OTW and I had just been shooting him. I said I would dig out a few of the images I had just shot and get them to him.

And now it's time for a little educational lesson for all you guys that don't follow the surf that much........

This is one of the swell forecast charts from that I receive on a regular basis. These give me 5 days "look ahead" as to whats going to be coming up in the wave department anywhere in the you've probably guessed, Hawaii is the one that's always on the top of my list and here is a prime example of exactly why. It tells me the tides, wind direction and swell size and direction. Click on the picture and have a good look, and also click on the Surfline link if you feel inclined, it will give you more of an understanding of what this gig's all about, notice the wind direction arrow....offshore @ 7 knots....doesn't get much better than that I say !

The absolute and utmost perfect swell direction for Pipeline is west, but north west is still perfect and delivers epic waves to pretty well all of the North Shore, the colours in the above chart start at blue...1 -2 foot and go up to pink / purple...35 foot+. As you can see in this chart there is a lot of pink / purple for tuesday and wednesday which makes for me being a very happy camper at this point in time.

I am editing what I wrote this morning here for a minute in this next paragraph......ok.

I have just come back to the house after my little expedition for the day where I climbed the Pupekea Escarpment.... all because I wanted an overall shot of the place to show you guys, anyway, more of that later.

After that little climb, I decided to walk down the KeNui bike path to Sunset Beach and walk home via the beach and see what's going on. Surf is reasonably quiet today so I'm free you might's "the Buildup".

I got to the lifeguard tower, fired a few shots off for 30 minutes and out of the tower walks Dave Wasell, the guy you will see regularly on my website and more than likely on this blog. I recognised him and introduced myself and ended up talking for about 20 minutes. The point of all this editing by the way is that in our conversation, the swell of this Wednesday popped up (me being the popper...look out, I'm having could actually be "Big Wednesday".....stay tuned to see).

I asked him where I should be shooting that day as I know that Pipeline, OTW or anywhere around here is going to be so screwed up it will be pure mayhem. I will try and shoot Pipe in the buildup and the drop down when its at it's max for holding good......about 10 - 15 feet, above that it goes its own way (just like Fleetwood Mac did). Anyway, just as I suspected, Dave's response was "try the Waimea shorebreak as it's going to be an absolute monster west swell........(there's those magic words....WEST SWELL) which is exactly as I was planning on doing, but it means doing "The Bus" on the day as I have no wheels, I might try and get a lift up there early with one of the house people here and then bus back when the shit's hit the fan on the Kam Hwy later as it will only cost me $2 and it doesn't matter how long it takes to get home, I can check my pics out on the way....probably walk quicker actually, it's only a couple of kilometers and I sure won't have my big 600mm lens in tow....the waves will be big enough on their own to fill the whole picture without it, stay tuned to the blog as that post should be just nuts.

The road through here, the Kam Highway will be at an absolute stand still shutdown that day with rubber necking tourists from Waikiki, So it looks like thats where I'll be on the day...bring on the Waimea shorebreak.....never shot it or seen it at it's prime, but this is my time by hell, as I said, this trip has been nothing but pure gold. You guys at home are going to be bored mindless with my slideshow when I get home,, I'm not really !

I just got to the end of my editing and saw the next few lines and good is it when it's six foot and I feel I can have a day off like I did.....I'll need a holiday when I get home.

STOP, end of editing. Carry on from above.

The report for today here Sunday 7th Feb is six to ten foot and double overhead with good conditions....more of the same that we have had since day one of me getting here as the pics through this blog will show.

I just got back from the beach and it's exactly as the above described. The full report for the next five days is below
The below report is cut and pasted....not written by me.






6-10 ft +
head high + to double overhead

4-5 ft
shoulder to head high occ. 6 ft

5-7 ft
head high to 2 ft overhead

20-25 ft
4-5 times overhead

18-20 ft
4 times overhead

WNW swell fading, biggest early; trades return
Fading NW swell, biggest early; possible new NNW pulse; rising E trades
Building new WNW swell due to fill in during the afternoon with larger sets, stay tuned!
Possible solid WNW swell builds to a peak; moderate ENE trades...stay tuned
WNW swell easing

Show Wind Details

Show Tide Text






Me again from here. Notice Wed and Thursdays wave heights........dam big.

Anyway, that will do as far as the "educational" side of things go from me, but I thought it would be interesting for you guys to see a bit of how this all works.

I follow these charts closely and regularly, which in turn has always made me want to come here in Febuary to try and get this place as good as it gets (and seeing what I saw back in AU over November to January was the clincher) and this time I hit gold you could say...I got way more than what I was expecting and would even go as far as saying that I got more than what I was hoping for...(way more actually).

Now it's time to relax a bit until Tuesday when we get the big west/north west hit. Charge batteries, format CF cards, clean sensors, lenses etc etc and start amping up for what should be an absolutely truly incredible experience.....who's excited again...ME. Thats who. I'm off to the beach to shoot again for a while. Back later.

I'm back....first up I thought I had better show you that Wasell was actually in that pit from the last post, so go to the next post please and as of now, every time I post it will be a new one, so go to the archives at start of page on right and look for the dates...editing existing posts is too hard. My problem is that I wake up at about 4.30 am every morning and it doesn't get light here until about 7am so I tend to blog in the morning waiting till daylight and then again at night....just look at post headings to see where I am.

hope you enjoyed this one.

Anyone like my "Wave" shot !!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Volcom Pipeline Pro...Feb 2010.

The next time you visit this blog there will be a "New Post" happening, so you will have to click on the archive selection on the right of screen as the blog opens and comes up....I will be titled "Swell Charts" hopefully......that is if I can actually copy and paste one of the things in.

The Backwash Conflict.....One very freeked out moment at Off The Wall, shot from Pipe. If I had had the 600mm lens in my hand at the time I shot this, I simply wouldn't have got this image....It wouldn't have fit in the picture. I was messing around with the 100 - 400mm at the time as I saw a massive set looming way out the back......then this happened. someone was definitely smiling on me for this one !

About One Third Of The Pack This Morning 6-2-2010 (and I mean that).....having a bit of a scratch up the" liquid hill". They've spotted bigger things on the horizon coming to greet them (and take a few of them out too). There are 43 riders in this picture, and as I said, that's about a third of what was out's nearly as bad as Snapper Rocks back home

Share The Ocean..........Please ! A ski heading down Wiamea way and a whale heading up towards Sunset Beach. All this was going on directly behind the pack at Pipe.

Dave Wassel is inside that thing, I kid you not.... which by the way is Backdoor today again 6-2-2010. In the sequence of these images he's dropped down the face of this beast, trimmed up and got shot out the end after a very intense ride. Nice one for sure Dave.

One From Today, I said it was on again didn't I.... just wondering if Sion Milosky realises how thick that lip above his head is !

"The Digs"....the place I'm staying in. The one to the left is mine, and it's attached to the owners house which is on the right and joined by a breezeway / deck.

Why this blog keeps spreading itself out is totally beyond will have to forgive me for that as I keep going back in and tightening it up, but it just keeps spreading will have to just keep scrolling down until I get it sorted. I think I may start a "new post" this arvo and see if that sorts it.

"Danger.......Death May Occur", and quite often does around here...this place should not to be taken lightly. Just before I came here on in"07 Malik Joyeau Died out the front here surfing 6 foot Pipe which is totally manageable as far as size and threat level go, and he was a pro surfer with plenty of experience. There is quite a few "In Memory Of" plaques if you start looking around the area here.

It's 6.30am Sat 6th US time here and I've just been over to see what today is going to offer. I hate to say it, but it's on again.

Just thought I would post one or two quick pics before I dissapear for the day though. It shows the damage that these monster swells do to the place when they hit, this particular shot is of the corner of the property that I stay at with Dave...above those rocks and sandbags is his house.

I'm going to bed....11.20pm 5th Feb here, and a big day tomorrow. I'm tired and sort of lonely....outa here, check back tomorrow for the latest instalment.

See ya.

Please correct me if I'm wrong....but this does look a bit bigger than 8 foot to me considering the guy riding it is probably 5ft 8" or something. Like I said in my words here this morning.... Today was supposed to be good, but not huge. Yes the "trades" certainly did swing into action, and the sun burned the cloud off, the swell got another pulse and jacked up...big time.

I blogged as I said I would until around 2pm when I walked up the road behind the house and tried to find my way up the Pupekea escarpment to take a pic of the over all area. It was not to be as I ran into a dead end....I will check with Carmen tomorrow as to how I can get up there.
Anyway, when I got back down from that little adventure, I wandered over to the beach again to find this. This place has so many subtle and not so subtle changes in a day it's mind boggling. These three surf shots were all taken with my 100-400mm lens on the 40D and totally hand held (no tripod, I didn't stop back into the house to get the 600mm on the way back from the climb) I thought I would just shoot with what I had in my pack. They turned out winners to me I have to say.
I am getting such a good run of prime waves over here it's sickening, but I'm just loving it ! Bring on the 31 feet this Wednesday and Thursday.

Unknown Casualty @ OTW pm.. 5-2-2010...I'm hurting for this guy, he had such a good take off and then came unstuck when I thought he was about to nail it.....weightless for a split second is a good feeling I suppose, but the flogging after he hit the water would be something I wouldn't want to go through......I had one guy come out of the water from this session up from where I was perched up on the rocks in front of the house at Off The Wall and say to me, "did you shoot that is so shallow out there it's lethal" and as I write this at 10.40pm 5th Feb US time (6.40 AU time) I can hear the waves totally exploding on the reef at OTW straight accross the Kam Highway and the Ke Nui Bike path....It's going to be blisteringly good again tomorrow if I can handle another hit of this action....I have never been blessed with anything like this in my life. Aloha indeed !!!

The View Of Pipe Shot From OTW. 5-2-2010

Myself, Some Other Photogs, and The Punters @ Pipeline...05-02-2010.

Base Camp For Bethany Hamilton.

Pullin' Up Inside.

Jamie O'Brien About Three Minutes After Taking Out The Competition.

Island Style. Slow Down Man...This Ain't The Mainland !!

I just saw this guy walk past me as I was pulling away from the camera and was checking out the words on his back....Hawaii is definitely in this mode "island time" I suppose you would call it. I like it...... even though I seem to go flat out when I'm at home, I slow down like I'm in another world when I get to the North Shore for some reason (except when I'm getting down to the beach when the swell is up) This guys sweater seemed to say it all at the moment I was shooting this image.

And Another One...The "phothogs" are everywhere up here, and in all forms, shapes and sizes....this one looks rather interesting......the hat, bikinis, SLR with a sound hook up ?.... I could be wrong, but it sure as hell looks like it. It makes for an interesting day that's one thing.

It's 8am Friday 5th Feb here on Oahu, (4am....Saturday 6th Feb for you guys back in Oz) and finally it looks like I have a bit of breathing time to sort some photos and blog for a while today. Don't get me wrong, there's still about 6 - 8 foot waves running as I speak, but it aint 15 foot plus and making me feel that I just have to be down there shooting.
I could feel the dynamics of the place change late yesterday arvo when I came back from shooting and into last night as I sat here, but couldn't explain it .....maybe it was the swell easing, but whatever it seems a lot quieter round here today.
I just went over to check the waves and my landlord was just pulling out onto the road on his way down to Sunset Beach to go on Lifeguard duty with his two mutts in the back of his truck. I remember the second last time I was here in '06 and came back from shooting a massive day just three days before heading back to Oz and Dave said to me " you got the money shots today Mal " ..............well he's starting to sound like a broken record at the moment on this trip, as every day is doing it. I'm going to try and copy a swell chert from "Surfline" in here occasionally so you can see what I mean. Yesterday when it was 12 - 15 feet, the reports were calling the surf conditions "poor to fair". Well "poor to fair" conditions here equates to epic and unheard of back home in AU, I was shooting for 7 hours yesterday in the "crappy 13 foot conditions" and got some killer images.
Today the trade winds should come back over the course of the day, the light cloud cover will burn off and the swell ,is at a more manageable size for Pipeline, so give me and hour or two working here and I'll be back over there shooting in sunny fun conditions.
One thing I keep getting asked by people back home is, "what's it like down in the thick of it @ Pipe when the waves are really on, are there many photogs with big lenses there....are there lots of spectators, etc,etc"....well I will post a pic or two and try and show you.
One thing that never ends to amuse me is the procession of people that just come up to me and just plop themselves next to me and start firing questions and requests at me......heaps of "em actually. Over the last two days alone Ive had some rippers.
One guy from god knows where with a barely recognisable accent came up quite brazenly holding up an 8 gig CF card in his fingers and said "one question please.....would you mind pulling your card out of your camera and sticking mine in it and taking some shots through your big lens for me......I would be very appreciative if you would do this for me". I didn't quite know what to say at first but he seemed like a nice enough sort of a dude, so I did. While I was shooting a few off for him, I got the idea to get him to shoot a few of me with my backup camera working on the end of the big setup with all the background action in it to try and show you guys the atmosphere. I was a bit nervous sending him down the beach with my other camera and my 400mm on it, but his wife and kid were only 10 meters from me waiting for him and I also had his card............but I was getting ready to chase him down if he had any ideas about having a go, he didn't and I'm pretty happy with the pics he took.

Another one of the requests was from three young girls. One of them came up to me and asked if I minded if their freind got next to me while she was taking a photo of the break and the other one would take a pic of the both of us shooting the same thing at the same time with her standing next to me with her little point and shoot camera, then another charming lady standing next to me commented that that in itself would have made a good pic on its own for me.....I was just telling her that I was doing a blog for family and freinds at home to follow. There's a limit to how many cameras and lenses I can cart around all day though, and the big ones are the weapons of choice around here.....the shortest focal length I can usually pull back to with my gear here is 100mm, hence when I got the guy to shoot a pic of me while I was filling up his card, I had to send him up the beach a bit so he would fit the surrounds in the image with myself.

I'm also forever getting asked "what beach / what surf break is this" is this Sunset, Waiamea, Pipeline or what.....I tell them they're at Pipeline, and they give a big surprised grin and off they go. It's always entertaining down here thats garaunteed !

One interesting thing that is happening at the house I'm staying in is that the property is being used as Base Camp (as it is such a big spread of land they have) for all the cast and crew of the movie that they are making up here on Bethany Hamilton (the girl who lost her arm in a shark attack on Kauai) there is constantly vehicles coming and going shuttling cast to and from the sets wherever they may be, the other day they were shooting at Rockpiles just over the road. Dennis Quaid is one of the people hanging around here.....not that I've spotted him personally. The owners of the property and another boarder who lives under the main house in a flat and also myself have all been told we are all welcome to go and eat in the big machinery shed that has been converted into a "mess hall" while the movie makers and every one else is here, we are welcome any time they are serving any meals up and it's all for free. As of the 6th they are moving up to Turtle Bay to set up, so this place will go quieter still once that happens.

Jamie O'Brien Giving The Pipeline Sitdown Salute.


Pulling Up For Rush Hour....

Two In The Barrell....@ Pipe...OK !

The Water Patrol Guys Thinking It's Time To Move On.

Yeah.....It's For Real.

The grommetts hitchin' a ride out the back immediately after competition finished on the last day...

Bruce Irons, Grinner.....And Why Not.

A Very Clean Place To Hide For A While..

There Was Plenty Of These On The Day, (Broken Boards)...27 To Be Precise !

John John Florence Being Chased Down.

Click on any picture to enlarge, then use your back arrow to return to blog.......

Finally........ arrived in Hawaii on Jan 28th (US time). It all turned out too hard to get all my gear over to the north shore on the day, so I stayed in Waikiki that night and headed over the next day, even though I knew Pipe was going off with the Volcom Pipeline Pro competition called on that day, I just didn't have it in me to make the migration accross the island after 18 hours of flying, connecting, dealing with two lots of customs and immigration and hanging around airports, all I wanted was sleep.

I made it over to the north shore the next day, and was greeted with good waves but by the time I rounded up the guy who's place I was staying in who was on lifeguard duty down at Sunset Beach, got into my accommodation and got organised, the day was all but over so I settled in and resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be shooting that day, but.....the word was that overnight there was a big north west swell pushing in and that conditions would be excellent for tomorrow with a good chance of the comp being called back on again.

First thing in the morning I bolt accross the road and check the beach to find the action well and truly on with absolute monster sets detonating on the first and second reefs of Pipeline and the contest just about to hit the water. I race back and get all my gear and hit the beach for what ended up being a 10 hour session of pure big waves and mayhem, I was on the beach without leaving all day, got back into the house at 7 pm that evening. The swell charts were calling it at 12 to 18 feet and triple overhead in the days leading up to it and thats pretty much exactly what was delivered. There were all sorts of chaotic stuff going down including unsuspecting tourists getting caught down too close to the water line and getting knocked down by big "sneaker sets" (that would wash right up the beach) complete with their handbags, ipods, phones etc,etc. It was kind of amusing just sitting up where I was with all the other photographers and just watching all this go down as every time I come here and get a big swell I witness the same thing happen time and time again. Anyway, it was just a classic big Pipe day and I am only 3 days into the trip and one very happy camper, and with all swell forecasts saying that we are in for two big back to back swell hits due in the next few days I think I'm only going to get a hell of a lot happier.

And If your wondering who won the Volcom Pro comp, it was local charger Jamie O'Brien with two Aussies, Anthony Walsh and Mark Mathews coming in second and third respectively. Click on the following link to see the full story and another photographers version of one of my pics posted here of "sit down surfing @ Pipe" .

The next day of the finals was just beautiful glassy / to light offshore groomed perfection and was truly an inspiring session to witness..........all done and dusted by around 10 am.

Anyway, I'm out of here for now after spending all afternoon in front of the pooter sifting through images and posting doesn't matter though as there is a front pushing over the island at the moment with plenty of rain and it's shitty outside.
Keep checking into this blog if your interested now that it's up and running as I will post as often as I can. Right click on this page and save the page link to your favourites or desktop.

I have very limited image editing software here so pics are going to be posted as is. The better, sharper ones will go to my website when I get home.
Please feel free to leave a comment or a bit of feedback if you want.

Talk soon.