Saturday, January 14, 2017

Facing their fears at Ours, day of days!

Click on the photos to get a bigger more detailed image

.   It'd been over 2 years since I had photographed any waves of consequence, it was driving me absolute bonkers and I needed to get my fix soon otherwise I'd do something stupid like crash a Redbull event...! So as it happened that's exactly what happened. I'd seen the forecast a week out and straight away put in for the weekend off plus the Monday and the plan was to drive down to a spot way past “Ours”. Following the storm down on the Saturday to stay in Sydney the night I was thinking to myself if they do call the Cape Fear event on I'd be a fool not to try to get in to the area to photograph it from somewhere with some of the international names on the invite list. So Cape Fear event it was going to be even though I wasn't on the photographers list! 2 years prior I applied to photograph the inaugural event but they said I wasn't a “credited” photographer what ever the fuck that means. Maybe because I haven't got an instagram page, haven't photographed heavy water outside of Ireland or just maybe being a red head my bulls are too red for them...

.   Woke up the Sunday morning to pelting big fat nuggets of rain on the window, shit it pissed down all day. Checking the internet I saw the event was on for the next day but it was going to be run with mostly Australians but they still hadn't got them all confirmed yet, I guess with it going to be the biggest swell to have tried to surf it some were a bit dubious to it all. I still decided to stick it out and head down their first light to check it all out.

.   Hardly any sleep that night due to trying to figure out how the frign heck I was going to get in to the area as I knew Redbull will have the site all blocked off and the thought I could actually get to witness something great go down I was up well before sunrise with a plan hatched, sorta... Checking the forecast it looked offshore and big enough, I've only been here once before and it was small so I had no idea what to expect. Arriving their I could see enough security guards to think the US president had arrived! Parking up past the event and walking out to the rock ledge looking down on the playing field it was heavy, real heavy. The swell bending as it felt the slab below then not really throwing out on the peak but more up and folding in on itself then reeling down the line like a freight train producing a warped sketchy barrel that any slab rider in the world would've been bricking it. A lone ski the only bit of scale out their made it look so flipn nasty and thick I had to wonder whether they'd still run the event. A few more people arrived and said they were running it if the surfers wanted to, it was up to them to call it apparently which was good I thought as no one should be forced into surfing this beast today.

.   I was pretty excited with anticipation of what could lie ahead but then it all fell apart when security told us to leave as they were putting fences up. My heart sunk and out of pure desperation I asked the security guards to ring someone that can make a call to let me down to the event stage as an extra photographer for them, I even said I'd sign the paperwork and give the photos up but if they don't let me I'll still photograph it from somewhere so they may as well use me. The answer that came back was a simple no, so that just made me more determined. Cutting the public off to a surfing event is everything that is not surfing, surfing encourages all walks of life to enjoy the amazing feat of gliding on water whether you're a surfer, photographer or simply a spectator bringing smiles to all. It doesn't cut with me that Redbull can stop people entering the surf spot for 5 days saying it's a construction site due to safety reasons while a select few surfers go down the track bare footed with surfboards in hand. On the day there excuse is to control numbers, so does that mean every time Ours breaks big they're going to limit the amount of people to watch it, what a crop of bullshit.

.   Anyway to cut a getting long story shorter I found my spot away from the fun police and these are the photos that I had the honour to capture and witness the heaviest surf contest I have ever seen. The waves were nuts and borderline insanity, I was in fear myself for everyone out their putting their lives on the line for each wave. The hero of the day for me which took on the biggest and gnarliest ones on that first day was Jughead, if he hadn't bounced his head off the slab he would've been right up there with Russell in the final. Saying that though I was only there for the first day and really all those who surfed that mutant beast are pure nuts and a huge inspiration to us all showing how to face your fears even if deaths cape is on your back, you guys are my heroes and I'll never forget this day. Despite my rants towards Redbull I do think it's a great event and run very well with the surfers safety in mind, it's a good concept and I wish Redbull the best for upcoming events their. But for fucks sake be a bit more open minded on who you let into the event, add another peanut gallery stand or something.

.   I hope you all enjoy these warped bits of beautiful madness as much as I did capturing them.



ohh p.s. Red Bull have no permission to use these photos in any way

Wonder if he was thinking let's win this or let's just survive, Russell on the walk in

Looks tempting enough here...

...but not very tempting here

Jughead luving it

James Adams picking his line

Blake Thorton

Jughead running out of speed fast!

Jughead slotted


Jughead cartwheeling

Jesse Pollock not a great place to be

Jughead waterfall way

Jughead on a thick beast

Evan Faulks with style

Evan Faulks well below sea level

Evan Faulks fanning it

Richie Vaculik in a monster barrel

Richie Vaculik losing his head

Just feckn mental

Evan Faulks on a beauty

haha are you kidding me, capturing warped shit like this is what I live for

The "Eye" is watching us

Russell Bierke the winner on a prety screwed up looking wave

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ohh thank you Cyclone Victor

   Well I'm not a religious man but If I were I reckon me grandad "Victor" was looking down on us all thinking we all need some swell and boy did he deliver. Cyclone Victor was placed over the ocean for over a week in around the same spot wedged between Samoa and the Cook islands sending glorious swell straight to the east coasts of NZ and Australia. Right on cue too with many taking an extra long weekend for Australia day celebrations. The tides may not have been great and the wind teasing some without a sense of adventure but there were a hell of a lot of waves on offer for those who did a few miles and got the timing right.

   There was one morning in particular that was super glassy and solid enough producing some stunning barrels with the sun beaming through the back of the waves. I haven't had that much fun in a long time searching for waves not knowing what would be around the next corner. I still miss photographing big surf like mad but this swell not big in size still had a punch in it producing some entertaining photography.

   So here's a few shots in the name of Victor, the legend lives on

A shelf cloud storms towards Coffs Harbour
There are yummy slabs around, game on

It was raining that hard he was better off taking cover

This went unridden all day...

A backlit wave can produce some stunning greens

You'd almost think this is somewhere in Indo
Sand barrels

There was a bit of size out there at times too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A pleasant change of scenery

1 image only, check the hole in the cloud where the rain and lightning is coming out of...! f/4 0.6sec ISO100 17mm

  A bit of a change of scenery for me these last few months, chasing work I've ended up in Nambucca Heads, NSW building a bridge as part of the new highway to replace the death road. When I say death road that's exactly what I mean, so many people have been killed on this part of the highway and I was so close to becoming one of them but that's a story for another day, pretty stoked to be part of this helping saving lives.

  Anyway my expectation of the area wasn't great but once I toured around a bit on me days off I discovered it's one of the most beautiful places I have seen, white sand beaches broken up by rocky headlands creating long point breaks, waterways that wind themselves around the bush lands heading to the great ocean. A lot of it is very accessible and as you can see from the image above they have awesome lightning storms which makes me very happy. The surf isn't big and pretty inconsistent but with beautiful point breaks like Crescent Head it reminds of the old days when I was surfing at the likes of Te Awanga in Napier, NZ. Might be time to try get back in the water again...

  So here are a few of the shots I have taken in the last 4 months of being here and I've been pleasantly surprised by it all. Hopefully in the coming months there'll be a few cyclones send some glorious clean lines down so I can explore a bit more and see the real potential of the coastline.

  Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all especially to everyone in Ireland that I miss so much.

Sawtell doing it's thing

It went off for about an hr and it was stunning to watch with the sun shinning thru
And yup they drop in on everyone down here too, bloody muppet!
My new home for a while, Nambucca Heads 
This one's for Dad, Merry Xmas

Me mate Scotty checking it out

Heathe Joske on a damn shallow wave

The Living Dead

The bridge we're replacing

A local artist and his canvas

Bananas everywhere

I luv this shot, absolute classic

No beer, whaaaatttt. Yeah right...

Got home a few days ago for Xmas and Mum wanted me to capture a photo
for her, I hope I done it justice Mum and this is what you were thinking of
Merry Xmas
This is the last photo I took before leaving Surfers Paradise, cheers Steve for giving me a hand again