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I shot this photo during the Pipe Masters surfing contest in Jan of 1989. This was my first real test as a water photographer swimming out at Pipeline on what they were calling a 12' to 15' Hawaiian scale day with bigger sets. Which means the faces are 24' to 30' and bigger.
I trained hard in San Diego, California in the summer of 1988 running in deep sand, swimming long distances in the ocean and riding my bike. I was preparing for my yearly winter shoot as a contributor to Surfer Magazine on the N. Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
I was contemplating what I was about to do on the flight over to Hawaii from San Diego California. I had decided it was time for me as a surf photographer, to prove to myself as a water photographer that I could swim out into large deadly waves on the N. Shore, at Pipeline, Sunset Beach and all the other big wave breaks and successfully produce magazine quality water shots for Surfer Magazine. I was 35 years old which is considered old in the sport but I was in the best shape of my life so as long as could swim out of trouble I thought I'd be O.K.
On this particular day I did Ok. I found that I was able to handle the pounding while being caught inside on big sets over the shallow reef. I was ragged dolled numerous times and actually had my surf trunks ripped off of my body. Luckily my trunks caught on my swim fin leash and I didn't have to walk back up the beach naked. The last thing I wanted to have happen on this day was to have to be rescued and be embarrassed in front of all my peers because I couldn't handle the conditions.
This day turned out to be one of the best days I ever had as a surfing water photographer. I got some nice water shots of Barton Lynch that Surfer published. He won the contest and also became the world champion on this day.
I ended up scoring a cover shot of Glen Winton for Surfer on this day too. All of my training and hard work all summer really paid off for me.
I added some extra some 3D animated texture to compliment the digital airbrush I did to bring the wave to life.
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