Throwback Thursday

I know “Throwback Thursday” is usually reserved for instagram but when I realised what the the date was I couldn’t resist using it as an excuse to post some pictures from my travels.

It’s almost 3years to the day that I was watching some of the worlds best bodyboarders in the Pipe Pro final in Hawaii. Sat on the sand, camera in hand it was almost impossible to get any closer to the action, and surfers were just passing through the crowd on their way to the waves, something that doesn’t happen in many other sports. Over the course of the contest I reckon I shot close to 500 frames, but probably close to 100 of those were rattled off in the final heat. 100 isn’t that many by professional standard, but I had more shots than I knew what to do with, but here are my pick of the last round:



Jeff Hubbard.



Mike Stewart Was Pushing Close To 50 During This Contest. Still Surfed Like He Was 21.



Dave Winchester Hitting A Backflip. Solid Reef To Land On If He Messed Up.



Jeff Hubbard Running To His Mates And Fans After Winning.

It was an awesome contest to watch, the waves were great and the surfers were going all out to win. Seeing guys who I had seen in magazines and videos up close and at one of the planets premier waves was a mind blowing experience. Then there were also some guys in the comp who I knew, the North Shore is quite small, and there’s only really one backpackers place and it was full of people who had flown in for the comp, so you get to know them which makes the earlier heats all the more interesting, hoping your new friends make it.

I shared a dorm with a guy from the Basque area of Spain called Alex, he was on the Pro tour and had recently won his first event in Australia. Unfortunately he didn’t advance through his heat in Hawaii, he still had some pretty great waves though:

Alex Uranga

Alex Uranga, Looking Comfortable At Pipeline.



Renzo, 17 Years Old And Charging Pipeline At Size.


Eddie Read

Eddie Read, Flying The Flag For The UK. Big Waves Skills Probably Helped By Living In Oz Though.


Hawaii, and the North Shore in particular, was an amazing time for me. I was able to get in the sea almost everyday, in challenging waves and really push myself. Also getting to see the pro bodyboarders absolutely rip was no bad thing either!



Surviving The North Shore

For many surfers the North Shore of Oahu has a unique pull. It is the place where surfing experienced it’s coming of age and where every year pro surfers from around the globe come to compete in the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing.

With the island experiencing a massive influx of surfers every year tensions have risen and often boiled over, resulting in dressing downs, abuse and on occasion violence. Not a pretty picture but one that is in the back of every travelling surfers mind. As well as the waves, some of those have the ability to switch from the stuff of dreams to the stuff of nightmares in a split second.

So with that in mind here are a few tips to survive your first North Shore trip:

  1. Don’t drop in on people. Goes without saying really but you’d be surprised how often it happens. Locals don’t take kindly to fresh of the plane tourists ruining their waves, especially when many of the heavier breaks have serious consequences if you stuff up.
  2. Respect the locals. Again goes without saying. Be polite and respectful and you won’t have a problem. I stuck by this rule and on a couple of occasions got shouted into waves by local guys, something I never expected.
  3. Know your limits. Don’t paddle out at 12ft Pipe when the craziest wave you’ve surfed was that rogue 4ft one at your local beachie. In fact if that’s the case don’t paddle out at Pipe at all.
  4. Don’t rent a car. The North Shore isn’t that big, you can walk from Waimea to Pipe in less than 20mins. By having a rental you miss out on an essential North Shore Experience, hitch-hiking, you never know who could stop, the hot surf chicks, local charger or even internationally renowned big wave hellman.
  5. Pipeline isn’t the only wave on the North Shore. Sunset Beach is a short bike ride away, as is Velzy’s and various other breaks, look around and you’ll find somewhere without the big crowd.
  6. Get a Foodland discount card. If you plan on staying for anything more than a few days these will save you a few dollars, beer becomes affordable and you pack your sandwiches more so it’s worth the minute or two to sign up.


If you follow these guidelines your time on the North Shore should be pretty easy going, leaving you with memories you won’t forget.

From L to R: Myself, Big Wave Hellman Garrett McNamara, Kyle.


Picture Perfect Pipe

Recently I’ve been working a lot, it’s kept me away from blogging, but worse it’s kept me out of the sea. I’ve missed some epic North East swells, with rumours of secret points working and the potential to find a nice slab was high. Unfortunately I missed all this, and now have my fingers crossed that on my next day off there will be some swell.

Until then I’ve been going through some of my pictures from my travels and came across a gem of a sequence from Hawaii which I’d somehow overlooked previously. It’s an unknown surfer, dropping into a perfect Pipeline pit, there’s literally not a drop of water out of place and the position of the wave and where I was sat gives the illusion that there was no-one else out.

The shots speak for themselves really, this guy will have been stoked with his ride.

The Sky’s the Limit

Surfing is a sport that is constantly evolving and it’s barriers are forever being pushed. From the 1950’s when surfer’s began to charge big waves, the 1970’s when charging the heavy barrels at Pipeline was all the rage, to more modern times where tow-in surfing has pushed the limit’s further still with waves in excess of 70ft getting surfer and riders slotting into some of the heaviest barrels imaginable.

Alongside the push in heavy waves, waves that hold consequence, the basic moves of competition surfing are changing. There was once a time when all a surfer needed to win a World Title was a good hack, times have changed though and surfing has gone aerial.

Kai Berger at Pipeline.


Now it’s almost impossible to watch a contest without someone landing an aerial, more often than not there can be a few in one heat, especially in smaller waves. The aerial has become a new tool to try and earn more points, but it does seem that some surfers have sacrificed other skills in an attempt to be the most dominant in the air.

An unknown surfer at Pavones, Costa Rica.


So aerial moves are even becoming common in regular lineups, it’s not just the pro’s aiming high. However, the aerial revolution had to start somewhere, and in my opinion it was started by bodyboarders.

For years bodyboarders have been flipping off the lip of a wave and in the process have come up with some awesome manoeuvres, ones that surfers haven’t really got close to yet:

Ben Player, backflipping at Pipeline.


Unknown rider, ARS at Pipeline.



Renzo Fassioli, El Rollo, Pipeline.



Another unknown rider, invert, Pipeline.


Looking at the crazy moves bodyboarders are currently pulling (a double backflip was almost landed by PLC) you might be able to get a glimpse into surfing’s future.