WHY do you surf? For most of us it certainly isn't the glory or for the sponsors. It's simply because you love it. Jordy Smith's latest board short advert doesn't get you into a crusty wetsuit at 6am. For the same reason we here in the MSW office love these Raglan roster tails silhouetted against the setting sun. Feel the great leveller - bombing down the line and busting-out your tail. Surf photog Dan Carter had been confined to dry land for the final three weeks of his New Zealand Odyssey by consistent onshores. Packing his gear carefully (he had the time) he prepared to leave...
There is only one thing worse than no waves, writes Dan Carter, great waves and you can't surf. The story goes like this: it had been onshore for three weeks up until May 21st, 2009. So two nights before I left I had my grand drunken exit - obviously needing a straight head for working out all that airport stuff. Turns out the last day fired but I was fried. In the morning I had packed all my shit, very well I might add, so I couldn't surf. It was one of those things, to me it was a sense of accomplishment, there was no undoing that. Did I mention the hangover as well? Instead I dug out the camera and tripod and got some shots. Turned out ok after all.
Battered but not bruised
Whilst not on the world's mainstream surfing radar, the points of Raglan occupy a unique place in surfing lore. Everyone knows they're there, some have travelled around the islands marvelling at the lunatic driving in a western country which doesn't require car insurance - and those that have been there know it sits in the most active storm-belt in the world. If you're surfing perfect Indo, J-Bay or Huntington Beach during the months of April till November your swell came from the Roaring 40s. New Zealand can often be onshore for weeks at a time as swells marshaled from the Southern Ocean surround this island nation - however one man's onshore is another's offshore. Somewhere will always be working. Raglan though is worth waiting for and if you score a break in the wind you'll remember your jelly legs.
Indicators, one of the finest waves in the world, writes Dan Carter, located in Ralgan, North Island, New Zealand. One of those magic waves where most people have to flick off half way along to catch their breath. Couple with an incoming tide and near enough onto sunset for it to look cool through the lens.
All Endless Summer
I get the feeling I am starting to sound like Bruce Brown from Endless Summer when they visit Raglan. You have to limit the waves you can catch quite literally because you can get such a long ride. This is Jeff at the first cutback section of Insides. The sun swings down behind the line-up setting up some awesome back-lit shots.
That floaty feeling
Even though this was just a floater the colours make it one of my favourite photos. During my growth as a surfer I have been inspired by many a film. One of the main ones was Momentum II: Under the Influence, a classic film with an awesome cover. So when I was able to get a photo with similar lighting and colours I was stoked to say the least.
When the tide started to come in a bit a couple of things happened: The swell started to pick up a little bit and the inside section got hairier and closer to the rocks. When most people would shoot for the safety of deeper water and the shoulder, this local charger whacked a massive reo only a couple of metres from the rocks. It made for a nice photo and later in the session his friend tried to emulate him and ended up getting hammered on the inside. If his board came out ding free I would be very surprised.
Above is an unknown local guy and a stupidly good surfer. He had this place wired and was able to pull turns like this one all the way along the line.
Too many cutties...
This was taken during the first cutback section of Indicators. Basically you just get right into the pocket and hope the wave will hit the little ledge and you might sneak a little barrel. This is a great cutback and you hope he will make the barrel section but he got a little greedy and went for another cuttie and missed the barrel section.
Pulling it out
Mickey Hooks later in the session. It looks like he is about to bog the rail something chronic, but he pulled it off somehow. By this time in the session it was a scramble for waves so I was stoked he got one in the end, of course pulling that turn with the sun behind he was pretty stoked too.
I may have already mentioned this was a magic session to shoot, everything fell into place. You know you are pretty good at that surfing thing when you are not only throwing spray from your board but you are also shooting it from your hand doing your best Spiderman impression.
In this second photo you can see the confidence you attain from surfing Indies a lot - what a classic wave - I can't wait to return.