Friday, March 27, 2015

Mum's sunrise

Byron bay lighthouse
   I've always woken up before the sun rises as long as I can remember, I'm pretty sure that's been past down by me Mum. Each morning I'll either sit on the balcony or head down to the beach and just chill out and watch the sun come up, looking east towards NZ I know over beyond the horizon is Mum wide awake sitting in the dining room watching the same magic of the sunrise. In a couple of days is me Mums birthday so these shots are for her, the best Mum in the world and I love her heaps so here's to you Mum - Happy Birthday from the Gold Coast

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My top 12 surfing shots of Ireland...ever!

This wave is as rare as they come, sometimes not breaking for years. So much has to be aligned perfectly for it to break like this making this photo more special than most of my shots, sometimes pure luck plays a lot in surfing photography.
   You travel to new places to search for new waves and meet great people, sometimes just sometimes a place will blow your mind beyond anything you had ever imagined. Ireland did that to me around every corner!

   Ireland is frign cold, windy and very wet but when the elements come together for big waves there's no other place in the world I'd rather be. Photographing the surf here in winter is a real challenge with the sun never rising above 15 degrees in the dead of winter making the days short and dark, that's why you hardly ever see photographers from outside Europe traveling to this part of the world. I was lucky enough to live here for 10 years and embrace everything that is truly Irish and what makes this country great. Over the 10 years I only photographed it for probably 6 years as I had other things on me mind like Guinness, Bulmers, breakfast rolls with black pudding, drinking vodka in Russia, traveling to all the beautiful countries in Europe. Those 6 years were the best years of my life, the timing couldn't be any better as Ireland was just getting into the big wave scene. It was such an honor to record the birth of that, the discovery of big wave spots and watch these quite reserved Irish surfers take it on in the harsh elements the Atlantic threw at them. So here's to Ireland and once again I thank you for showing me what this amazing coastline has to offer.

   Here's my top 12 shots that make me well up inside and wanting to go back their tomorrow, Sláinte.

 This is New Yorker Dylan Stott on I think his first outing at Mullaghmore, Dylan got so addicted to the place he hasn't left and when Mullaghmore is on you can bet that he's out their. Mullaghmore is a beast of a wave breaking over a shallow reef that sometimes is only a foot or two deep in parts creating 20ft wide boils and 2ft backwash on the face. Ohh and there's also a ravine you can get pushed down into and from what I hear it's dark, very very dark and lonely...

 Andrew "Cotty" Cotton was the first person I ever shot surfing big waves in Ireland and this photo was the last wave I shot before I left Ireland in 2010. Cotty is truly a gentleman and one bloody ballsy surfer. This is Prowlers, over 1 mile off the coast and breaks over a reef just 2.5m below sea level and this was only the 2nd time we had been out to surf it and by far the biggest. It was surreal with some waves nearly draining dry!

 Mullaghmore and Paul O'Kane, it's like wax and a surfboard - you know they just go together. Paul has maybe put more time out here than anyone else, if he's not surfing this heaving slab he's running safety and photographers around. One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

 Aileens, thee most spectacular break I have ever had the pleasure to photograph. Sitting at the bottom of 700ft cliffs it's not for the faint-hearted, it breaks over a shallow reef rolling through boulder alley and smashes into the cliffs, those boulders are the size of cars! Here's local Tom Doidge-Harrison slotted perfectly on a wave he paddled into on his own board he shaped himself, legend.

 Another shot of Prowlers from the same day as Cotty's wave. Here's big wave charger Barry Mottershead saluting the eye of Prowlers, on one of Barry's waves I had the boat out of position and to this day I'm still disappointed at myself for missing it, I'm sorry Bazza.

 Another New Yorker, Kurt Rist taking on Prowlers for his first time - not bad aye, Kurt even paddled this day with some huge set of gonads! When I left Ireland in 2010 I was pretty sure I was never going to see Prowlers break again big as it has only ever  been surfed that one time close to this size. 3 years later I returned and scored the 2nd time it has ever been surfed this big, what are the odds what an honor. I am so darn proud to have been involved in the discovery and pioneering of Prowlers, big thanks to all the boys that manned up and took it on.

 The nastiest Aileens I have ever  seen. Greg Long and Twiggy Baker hooked up with Fergal Smith and Tom Lowe and headed to Aileens to paddle it straight off the plane! It was bonkers with 2 different swells directions you had to take a gamble on which one would not section out which never happens out here. This was the day Tom Lowe gambled one too many waves and got the whole lot on his head ripping his arm out of the shoulder socket!

 Not too sure if this wave has a name yet but it's the heaviest thing I've ever seen.

 This is Laurens, another spectacular wave discovered by photographer Mickey Smith. As heavy as a wave gets breaking against the cliffs. Surf this place if you have a death wish!

 This one photograph is the heaviest looking photo I have taken, so much going on here - pure nuts. Charger and good mate Mikee Hamilton taking on this Mullaghmore beast, Mikee has one of the biggest smiles and this day it was bigger than ever.

 Daithi Lavelle, what a guy. He's quite keeps to himself, turns up to Mullaghmore and pulls into the barrel of a lifetime. When I showed him the sequence on the boat he couldn't believe it giving me the biggest hug ever, we both just cracked up laughing. This is why I stuck out the cold frign wet days on a 15ft rib getting battered by howling winds each day, to see ya mates having the time of there lives and recording it for them giving them something to remind them of the day and to show there kids and grand kids what their old man used to get up to. Stoke just pure Stoke