GoPro HD Hero Paddlecam and Olympus 8010 handheld footage of myself and the crew catching waist to head-high waves on the outer bar at Tiana Beach last Sunday, which included many looong lefts:
and a few fun rights as well:
I left one wave out of the footage, which was probably the most beautiful, and most threatening, of the day. On one outbound paddle back through the channel, a giant set reared its head. Excited, I pulled out the handheld Olympus and started shooting. Joe Natalie scored a big ride, while an outbound Wolf dove for cover under 6' of whitewater. I was not spared as the shoulder reached right into the channel, knocking me off my SUP-photographer's perch. As I scrambled to my board, hoots and shouts of glee pulled my camera's lens to the next wave. There, in all its powerful glory, loomed a head-high, glassy-clean wave with a SUP surfer having the time of their life. All I could think about was how great would this footage be, and steadied the camera to capture the moment.
It's best in life to not make assumptions, especially if you're a surf photographer. Even though a rider may seem to be looking right at you, and even though this rider has surfed past you on several waves already, when you're down in the water and they're on a big wave, it's best to expect the worst -- that they can't see at all, and might run you over. We were lucky to get this lesson for free - both boards and bodies were unharmed. But life is also about learning from mistakes, making adjustments and trying it all over again. May we all return to the waves, be more aware and respectful of other riders, and when in doubt, shout it out!