Stab Magazine | Chippa. A Photo Essay By John Respondek

'Vacation Presented By Monster Energy' Is Live Now


Chippa. A Photo Essay By John Respondek

The fourth part in a stellar series by one of Stab’s favoured photographers. 

style // Dec 10, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Print is unfortunately a fast-vanishing medium. Overcome by the ease of scrolling your phone and the increasing cost of putting pixels to paper, print media, particularly surfing’s, has taken a significant dive. 

Whether it’s the inability to be so easily distracted, the smell of ink to the olfactory, or just the touch of turning a page, Stab are still big fans of print despite not nearing a press ourselves for a number of years. That’s why we’re excited when someone like John Respondek releases another photo essay.

Over the past half-decade Spon has released photo essays with Taj Burrow, Dion Agius, Craig Anderson, and now Chippa Wilson. Four surfers who Spon considers close friends, and has subsequently spent a lot of time with both in and out of the water. 

“After shooting year after year with these guys I just end up with these crazy archives of images.” Spon told Stab about the series of photo essays. “I get stuff published in magazines still which is great, but I don’t want to let other shots just sit around on hard drives. So what better way to archive them all than publish a book.”

Spon’s book is available right now to order via his website – where you can also grab copes of Dion., Taj., and Craig. To celebrate the book’s launch our friends at Monster Children are holding a launch party tomorrow night (that’s a Wednesday) at their Camperdown HQ featuring screening’s of Chippa’s latest flick for Epokhe, as well as a screening of Dion’s new film for HaydenShapes featuring Craig Anderson. 

Chippa LoRes UpdatedProof 45

Chippa pre-punt, otherwise known as getting barrelled


John Respondek

We needn’t say much about Chippa’s surfing. Since almost giving up his aspirations as a ‘pro surfer’ a number of years ago, Chip has gone from strength to strength. Know, as Spon attests, his surfing is arguably better than he’s ever been at the ripe age of 32.

“I was just saying to Beren [Hall] the other day that Chippa is just hitting his peak now. And there’s no telling whether he’s even hit a plateau, he might still be on the way up. It’s truly baffling what Chip is capable of.” Spon told Stab.

“You see a lot of consistent guys, but Chippa blows almost everyone out of the park in terms of consistency. When we go back and watch the clips after a surf a lot of the other guys are like ‘Fuck! Is this guy serious?’ He’ll make like 10 mental airs every surf.” 

Chippa LoRes UpdatedProof 51


John Respondek

Chippa LoRes UpdatedProof 14


John Respondek

As far as the photos themselves are concerned, they’re spread over an eight year period, but the majority of them have been captured in the last three of so years.

“There’s a couple photos in there from 2011, but not many.” Spon said. “Then we didn’t work much together for around two or of three years.

“Then [since 2016] would make up the bulk of the shots. We did a bunch of Indo trips together and then just over a year ago Chippa and I decided he would be the next person in the photo essay series. From that point onward we’ve worked even more together knowing that we were really working towards something.”

Chippa LoRes UpdatedProof 2

The shot which one Spon $5000k at Monster Children’s annual photo comp. This shot of Chippa took out the ‘Action’ category, a moment of brief reprieve in Chippa’s usually cataclysmic approach to wav riding.


John Respondek

“A lot of it was shot around Indo – we’ve done three trips in the last three years to a land camp in Sumatra –and then there’s a bit of South Coast, then some West Oz, Fiji, and a King Island trip peppered throughout as well.”

If you would like to see these images printed and then happily planted upon your coffee table for your art and surf interested friends to peruse, grab a copy here from Spon’s site. It’ll only cost you $30 Australian bones, and if you’re using US currency, then it’ll only be 20 because the exchange rate is so colossaly fucked.

Also, I recommend you swing by the launch party tomorrow at Monster Children’s HQ. Where you’ll be able to pick up a copy if you can’t be bothered to wait a few weeks for Chippa. to land on your doorstep. 

I’ll be there so feel free to come by and tell me how much you hate my writing in person, rather than just berating me in the comments. 


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