Five Days On The North Shore With Brian Bielmann
Brian Bielmann’s a treasure in the trove of surf photographers. He’s been behind some of our most cherished shoots (see: Bruce Irons, a flair and the tropics). So when he proposed the idea to run a contest through Stab for his Developing Legends workshop on the North Shore we obliged. Through some discussion, with the help of O’Neill, a #stabfullframe competition sparked on the free market better known as Instagram. The winner would be gifted a trip to the North Shore, free admittance to Brian’s workshop, and accommodation courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort. It was a sweet deal, and after myriads of submissions, we along with Mr Bielmann selected a winner named Rich, otherwise known as @sa_rips. Who, when we told him he’d just won a free trip to Hawaii, responded with, “Fucking hell… no way… really?”
Rich (who owns the first five shots of the above gallery) then had to obtain a passport and board a plane for the first time in his life. “Tears of joy,” continued Rich. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I’ve never been overseas actually, never really been anywhere.” Our hearts warmed.
“Rich is the coolest guy,” Brian told Stab at the end of the workshop. “I generally get along well with Aussies and have been well aware of Rich’s work as SA rips. I was stoked when it was a unanimous decision for him to be the winner of the contest. From the moment we met, I could tell he was the real deal, and his outlook on life and what he saw through his lens were uniquely his own. He would wander off and come back with shots that I had never gotten even after 40 years of shooting the North Shore. I’d recommend scrolling through his Instagram.”
“For the workshop,” continued Brian, “we had students coming from all over the world, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico etc. We had guest speakers Zak Noyle and Tony Heff who talked about their work and the surf market. We had a model to shoot and access to Turtle Bay Resort, which was cool and all, but we needed waves to make it work.”
“The first few days the surf was pretty bad. It’s funny, a surf photography workshop on the North Shore always sounds like a great idea, but once the dates get closer, we get more and more nervous, thinking will there be surf? Luckily on the fourth day it came together. It was too big for Pipe but Waimea was breaking and some big waves were exploding off Shark’s Cove. We extended the workshop one day and were blessed with an all-star cast of Kelly Slater, John Florence and Jamie O’Brien in big, perfect Backdoor and Pipe.”
If you’d like to attend one of Brian’s workshops, go to his website and sign up for the newsletter.
Additional photos in order of appearance by Bill Cornick, Brei Lakin, Colton Zobel, Greg Ocasek, Lucano Hinkle, Tim Whitfield, and Tina Tremila.
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