Nate Lawrence's Favorite Photos From "The Last Crusade" Hardcover - Stab Mag
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Nate Lawrence’s Favorite Photos From “The Last Crusade” Hardcover

A gallery from Kolohe Andino and the San Clemente crew’s once in a lifetime boat trip.

features // Mar 25, 2022
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Photography by Nate Lawrence

Not all boat trips are created equal.

We asked Nate Lawrence, the notable photographer on Kolohe Andino and the San Clemente crew’s COVID-opus Reckless Isolation x The Last Crusade trip to select a batch of the images that meant the most to him when looking back at their time in the Ments. He came back with larger batch of imagery, which we whittled down to what lies below, along with some extended captions detailing their importance.

Here’s a behind the scenes view of the trip that won best film in our 2021 Stab Surfer of the Year poll and a few selections from Matt Biolos’ The Last Crusade hardcover.

Nate Lawrence: This is the crew just about to board the Sibon Jaya, our home for the next 22 days. So much work had gone into getting these five surfers to this point, I felt like we had already won just being here. It all started with a text I received from Kolohe asking how Indo was. I was over at Lakey Peak filming with Bronson Meydi and Rio Waida. I told Pete Matthews that we were trying to plan a boat trip but I was uncertain about the logistics to get the crew in from Cali. Indo was shut down and no one had flown in since March. Pete knew a guy who knew a guy. One week later Dino is transferring $14,000 USD to an Indonesian man’s bank account to get everyone a visa via a loophole in the law. So to be standing in front of the boat with the crew about to board, with the swell forecast what it was… yep, it was all smiles.

Ian Crane was the lone goofyfooter on the trip. And while Ian’s backhand is up there with the best of them — this wave was not an easy go for us screwfoots. Death Chambers is a slab with an extremely vertical takeoff. If you’re too far on the shoulder, you will get pitched; too deep, and you won’t make the second barrel section. So you have to thread the needle, plus the wave pops up out of nowhere. I had been here with Ian a few years prior and he didn’t end up getting a good wave at all, so this day I knew he needed some redemption.

I had never met Crosby until this trip and he absolutely was not what I expected. Crosby is by far one of my favorite humans on earth now. He is 100 percent real and doesn’t care about what others are doing. By that I mean he has a unique view on life and his surfing. I see a lot of people who try really hard to surf like this or act like that. Crosby, and his brother Griff, are living their own lives and doing things their way. And it’s working. The lines that Crosby takes surfing are unlike anyone else’s. I hope Crosby works on his own surf film soon so we can get a magnified vision of what he does. [Editor’s note: We’ve got a Colapinto bros film coming out shortly.]

Ok, here’s Griffin. I told you these brothers are something else. He just won his first CT event. He will probably win a world title within the next three years. I’m buying all the Colapinto stock and holding, cause it ain’t going down anytime soon. This session was at a fun right-hander where the guys could do some turns, some airs, just have some fun. It’s nice during the trip to have a few sessions at waves that are not perfect. Remember the name Coldsprings, I’ll talk about it later.

You start to lose your mind a little bit when you’re at sea for 22 days straight. You know those boat trips where the surf guide is completely fried and you’re wondering why you paid $4,000 to be guided by Kenny, who won’t stop talking about his most recent trip to Thailand. For different reasons than Kenny, we would get off the boat and go to shore whenever we could and explore some islands, climb palm trees, dig holes, collect shells, etc. At one point, Ian threw his surfboard into the ocean while I was flying the drone. Yep, you start to lose your mind a little bit when you’re at sea for 22 days.

On most Mentawai boat trips I’m on, I will surf guide the trip as well. I have been on more than 50 of them, so I have a pretty good idea of what waves will be fun — as well as what waves are good to photograph and film. It’s a constant battle sometimes with the captains because they might have a wave that will be good, but there’s no way to shoot it properly. Take Riffles, for instance, it’s one of the best waves in the Ments but it never looks quite as good on film. So this trip I was working with Ricky, who is by far the best captain/surf guide in the Ments. He’s a photographer as well, so he knows about that end of things. And then we had Dino, who has probably been on more boat trips than me. Dino is super on top of it, calling Snips from his sat phone to get the latest swell chart readings. And first I gotta say that I love Dino — we did trips together when Kolohe was ten years old. But Dino is passionate about getting the boys into the best waves possible, so there can be some intense conversations with him. One week into this trip, I had kinda been on fire with my calls. We scored all-time HTs in our first three days. One day at Macaronis. A few fun waves elsewhere. This day I had a feeling that Death Chambers was going to be good. We went there in the morning and the tide was dropping out. We surfed it for two hours but it wasn’t really barreling. After breakfast, Dino wanted to check Coldsprings — said the boys needed some ripping clips. I pleaded my case to hang for a few more hours at Death Chambers to wait for the tide to fill in. “No we gotta go to Coldsprings!” he said. “Can’t waste the entire day here!”

So after some talking and cooling down, I talked them into staying put and eating lunch. After lunch, we could see what the waves were doing. Right as the last burger was being inhaled a set rolled in. Five minutes later another one came through. Before we knew it we were scrambling to put our waterhousings together and jump out there. We had one of the best afternoons of surfing I’ve ever been a part of. Five friends sharing stand-up barrels without another boat within 50 miles of us. The rest of the trip just fell into place after that session.

To give credit to Dino, he did make the call this day to head back to HT’s. I was leaning toward staying at Macaroni’s — maybe partly because I really wanted to get a surf in there. But he was right, and I was wrong. Dino had a grin on his face that evening at dinner, knowing that he evened the score. Although we were starting to become numb to perfect waves right around this day in the trip. Surfs were becoming a little shorter. Naps were steadily increasing. We still had one week to go.

This is that grin I was talking about. Dino has to be one of the most genuine people in the entire surf industry. He knows he’s overflowing with passion. He does not hide that nor is he ashamed. There’s a great piece in the book that Lewis Samuels wrote on Kolohe and Dino where they both open up on their unique relationship and the life around surfing Kolohe grew up in. I teared up a few times during my initial reading of it. Both Dino and Kolohe will always be an inspiration to me as stand-up human beings.

The matador, Luke Davis. There’s a quote in the book that talks about Luke always being on the wave of the day. He’ll sit out the back for hours waiting for that one big one. And that’s smart, because at the end of the trip when we’re selecting the best images and clips, quantity has nothing to do with the final product.

We would never be able to enjoy the good moments without witnessing some pain and suffering. Yin and Yang type stuff. This reef job was more extreme than others — there are lots of spots on Luke that you can’t see underwater that are bleeding as well. Luke came back to the boat, sat for hours while all the other guys were getting the best barrels of the entire trip. It was low tide Greenbush with a very scary but makable end section. Luke got some stitches in his hand from Ricky, threw on a rubber kitchen glove and paddled back out. He got the best wave of the afternoon. The universe has a strange way of doing things.

You can order The Last Crusade here, or find it at a surf shop near you.

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