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 there......it'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 me...you will have to forgive me for that as I keep going back in and tightening it up, but it just keeps spreading out.you 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 ....it 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 this.......it 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.


  1. Hi Mal, Sure sounds like you are having fun.
    The photos look good as well, especially the ones where the guys are nearly overtaken by the waves. Keep on enjoying yourself.
    Love Wendy and Samara xxx

  2. Nice stuff Mal, you lucky bugger. Bit warmer than where I am in Virginia USA. Got 6" of snow last night with more due Friday.


  3. Hey Brian.......how are you settling in over there. I didn't know if that email address would still get to you or you would have another one now you are over in Virginia permanently. I'm loving it here mate and am feeling for you in that cold. Cheers, Mal.

  4. Hey Mal,
    The first photo on Tues 2.2.10 "Pullin up inside" is a great surfing shot....huge wave.
    It is good to see a shot of you to see where you hang-out. Most people on the beach haven't got hats on...what's going on?
    It is nice and hot here with a few showers.
    Love Wendy.

  5. We're in Hawaii Wen.....it's relaxed over here..no rules (apart from no dropping in), it's not that hot anyway....but I wear a hat when I can find it, or a towel on my head when I'm shooting as I know you'd be telling me off if I didn't have something on. Good point you made though actually.

  6. Hi dad,
    Looks like your having a great time, the waves look huge!Love all your pics
    Love Samara xx

  7. Hey Samara....thanks for that. See you soon mate. Love Dad xxx


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