A Selection Of Images We Deemed Too Special To Run Digitally
A Stab Full Frame gallery from the glossy pages of Issue 84.
Kelly, Ross and Mason with their mighty tails between their legs. There’s been an awful lot of Waimea and Eddie talk this year, and this is a scene from one of the days when the contest was called off due to the surf being too big and unruly. Here we see Kelly Slater, Mason Ho, and Ross Williams after failing to make the paddle and returning to shore with there mighty tails between their legs. Here’s photographer Mark Halliday’s beach scene report from a day that defeated some of the best.
“When a swell of this magnitude appears on the charts, Eddie discussions are a naturally infectious topic. Reckon they’ll run it? Is the swell gonna hit too late? Upon hearing through a series of Chinese whispers that the competition wasn’t going ahead, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment when it didn’t run. Kelly didn’t make it past the Waimea shorebreak, and neither did Mason Ho and Ross Williams. Here’s Ross, Mason and Kelly reflecting on what could’ve been. On a day when surfing’s yoda couldn’t make it past Waimea’s first line of defence, I witnessed my 36-year-old, 89 kilo booze enthusiast housemate Jimmy from Margaret River paddle out and catch a few waves. Whether this was complete fluke or not is still to be decided. But still, I’m sure he’ll be telling the grandkids about the time that he made it out at giant Waimea and Kelly Slater didn’t.”
We all hold delusions of grandeur when it comes to surfing in thick rubber. It’s the new frontier, we scream, wetsuits are so advanced nowadays, and we picture ourselves performing with freedom on long empty points with snow capped peaks in the background. In reality, it sucks. Ever tried standing up in a five mill wetsuit? It’s literally like trying to do a push up with a huge fat guy on your back. That’s what makes the hi-fi dazzle of Pete Devries here all the more impressive.
The break that you see here is on Vancouver Island and it’s only accessible via a logging road. “Surfing in Canada is mostly just mushy beachbreaks,” explains photographer Marcus Paladino, contradicting what the surf media might have you believe. “This spot is super fickle,” he continues, “and the more swell it gets, the more wind it needs. When Pete surfs this spot he’s usually tube-hunting the whole time. But when the tide gets too high he moves down the point with everyone else and puts on a show. I was originally shooting from the water this day, but I had to get out after two and a half hours because I was shivering so hard that my teeth were chattering.” Nothing comes easy in Canada, but when the end results a shot like this, then it’s sure worth losing feeling in your extremities.
Marcus goes on to say that when you grow up learning to surf in 5mm rubber, the ‘limitations’ cease to exist because you become so accustomed to the restricted movement, “but it makes you wonder what Pete would be able to do if he were in boardshorts.” Well, on a little jaunt to Lakey Peak many full moons past, Stab was confronted with a pasty man with a Hurley sticker on his beak putting on a hi-fi masterclass at playful three foot Peak. Seeing such a razor edge surfer with such sublime skills and not being able to conjure a name boggled. Until his identity was finally revealed. Devries! Temporarily free from rubber.
Ant Fox is the fine South African gent who shot the unbelievable John John’s Africa feature, which you would’ve seen in Stab issue 82. Ant’s a full time Cape Town resident, and, unbelievably, given the quality of his images, has a day job. “There’s been a few days either side of swell here on the Cape Peninsula with scorching temps and blasting offshores. This spot had a little window of protection from both and Jordy made a meal of it.”
Jordy Smith’s back on tour after too long out of the game with injury. Stab hung with him on the North Shore, and he looked absolute dynamite in the water. We filmed a session at Rocky Point and Jordy looked as good as ever. He took off on a left, raced down the line, and lofted what would’ve been air of the year. Just as he was about to put pressure on the hinges, he bailed. “Ah, I could’ve made it,” cringed Jordy after he came in, “but I just didn’t want to get injured again.” Be assured, when JS’s no longer nursing the joints, we’re in for something really quite special.
Jay Davies became a feature at the Pipe/backdoor/OTW stretch this year. Partly because his newish sponsor RVCA has a house right there on the sand at Pipe, and partly because he’s now part of a surfing power couple. The other half being the daughter of one of Hawaii’s most infamous sons. Stab spent a bit of time with Jay in the RVCA house on the rock, and he’s clearly become one of the boys. And it’s not hard to see why, the easy-going man hunk from West Oz isn’t exactly painful to be around.
No matter how many times you’ve seen shots of the seven mile strip, there’s still something quite captivating about it. And when you finally see it in person, you get a whole different perspective, of Off the Wall especially. The thing’s a deadset closeout. You’ll be looking at this heaving straight wave, and then see a small cluster sitting at what looks like a random spot on the reef from the land. Then every now and then, someone will take off on one of these behemoths, go insanely fast, and try and squeak out the doggy door before the hammer falls. This shot of Jay is highly deceptive. It’s a lucky dip out there kids, and there’s a good chance you’re going to pick a lemon.
Dane Reynolds’ first Hawaiian winter post-Quik was a quiet but productive affair. He stayed at the Vans house, and went to business at Rocky Point with laser accuracy. There’s maybe a thousand surfers in the world who can perform this manoeuvre. But, not one of them looks as good doing it as Dane Reynolds. It’s something that’s rarely mentioned, but it’s so crucial in the career of a surfer. Apart from the odd three minute (max!) web clip, all you see of surfers is photos. So therefore, a large part of of your perception of them comes from the shapes that they throw when they’re frozen in a frame. When you’ve spent hours pouring over surf shots like we have, you can speak with authority in saying that Dane Reynolds is the most photogenic surfer in the world.
What will become of Mr Reynolds in the following years is at this stage unclear. We spent a week with him on the high seas in Indo, and as a result of his candid speech, his parting ways with the mountain and the wave wasn’t a surprise. DR’s determined to make surfing a more creative, expressive space. And as a result, it’s rumoured that he’s going to start his own brand, that may or may not involve Mr Craig Anderson. Threads for the enlightened legion of surfers who aren’t afraid of an opinion, powered by Ando and Dane is bound to give the surf rag trade a shake up. Keep your eye on the gram, for this is the vessel upon which all modern ventures are launched!
Matt Paul Catalano
John John Florence. ‘Art’, by Matt Catalano. Now, abstract’s not usually our bag. It’s all a little same, and, where to draw the line between ‘art’ and something that’s just not that good of a photograph, is tough. But when this one slid across the desk, well, we couldn’t take our eyes off the damn thing. It’s John, it’s Backdoor, and it’s an example of the photographic gods deciding to smile on our fortunate photographer, Mr Matt Catalano.
“It was a glassy, clear evening in late in the year and the first few three to four foot sets started to trickle in,” says Matt. “The next day would see solid swell, and in the meantime John and (brother) Nathan were finding small tubes and nailing air sections from Pipe to Off-the-Wall. I was floating around at Backdoor, picking off shots of everyone, and John happened to cruise past me on this Backdoor wall. He nailed this hand drag carve. I wasn’t in position for the turn from the front, so I did my best to get it from underwater. Autofocus was on my side that day. I chose to edit this in B&W to emphasise texture in the water and the hand drag. Rail game is an art form and JJF makes good art.”
Don’t be fooled by Matt’s nonchalance. Misfires like this happen very, very rarely. Enjoy the brief glint of fortune.
Dillon Perillo, shades of Reynolds in Ventura. “This was shot in Ventura just before Christmas,” photographer Quinn Matthews tells Stab. “It was at the start of the crazy El Nino swell frenzy. Dillon and Brendon Gibbens were trying to get the finishing clips for their movie The Dill and Beeg Project so we all spent the night up at Dillon’s dad’s house in Oxnard so that we could get an early start. We woke up early to check the waves but nowhere was any good, so we decided to have an easy morning and check back in the PM. We went to the market and bought some supplies to make breakfast, went home and Dillon rustled up a big breakfast: Eggs, plantains, spinach. Then we played some guitar and video games before heading out to go check the waves again. The conditions weren’t too good, but we found a little peak with some fun lefts and the occasional right. The whole session Dill and Beeg were trying shove-its on the lefts. A good right came through which Dillon took and bagged a clip for the movie.
Later that night we drove to a Connan Mockasin concert in EagleRock, that was in a little church. We didn’t have enough tickets and it was sold out, but we figured we’d try our luck getting in anyways. We got there and probably 10 other people were trying the same thing, asking everyone for just one ticket. Discouraged, we went to grab some dinner and figured that we weren’t all getting into the concert. As we were walking back we decided just to walk by all the people trying to find one more ticket, and ask the ticket booth if there were any extras. There weren’t, but just as we were walking out the door someone walked up and asked if we needed another ticket! He handed over a $65 ticket for free, and everyone on the sidewalk cursed our names. It was a Christmas miracle! We had a great time and agreed it was one of the best concerts any of us had ever been to.”
Clay Marzo, no time for time-outs in the North West. After a torrid few years trying to combine a high profile surfing career with an Aspergers condition, Clay Marzo has finally found the sweet spot in life. And it’s in Kalbarri, Western Australia. “This photo was taken at the beginning of winter,” explains photographer Mike Riley. “Clay, Ry and I, and a few other local guys, jumped on our mate Jack Mac’s boat and we headed up to check the wave to see if it was breaking. The night before was a really big night. It was my boss’s 70th birthday down at the local pub, and most of us were nursing a severe hangover from the open bar.”
With a new sponsor allowing him free reign to do what he does best (i.e get severely pitted and not much else), Clay splits his year down the middle, spending half at home in Maui and the other in his girlfriend’s hometown, Kalbarri. Neither Clay nor his sponsor could be happier. “Most of our riders are skate and snow dudes who just live life and do their thing and film edits. Clay was the perfect fit for us,” explains Josh Priebe, owner/founder of the skate and snow brand, JSLV (Just Live). Where Clay’s condition was once seen as incompatible with a pro surf career, Josh sees it as a strength. If all Clay wants to do is surf heaving death slabs and compile a few clips and photos along the way, Josh is more than happy to fund it. “We weren’t’ gonna put any surfer on. It was Clay or nobody,” he says, telling us that the process took about six months and involved meeting the family, meeting Clay and many chats with Clay’s elder half-brother, advisor and former pro-surfer, Cheyne Magnusson. The deal involved giving Clay money to do whatever he pleases, as long as he gets insanely pitted. “There’s a lot of changes in the surf industry,” says Priebe. “You see so many big names quitting these big sponsors and teaming up with their homies, starting brands and going back to how it was before these brands became these big brands,” he says, adding, of Clay, “He’s seriously the best, I mean, what he does on a surfboard, it’s pretty crazy, I don’t even know.”
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