Surfing likes its legends. When the surf media started comparing a teenage girl from Hawaii with the sport’s reigning superstar and 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater, some of the passionate fans of the sport labeled it as hype. Carissa Moore made the first step toward proving the doubters wrong this year when she became the youngest person ever to win the world title. Her aggressive but fluid riding turned heads. Later his month Moore will be the first woman in the modern era to compete in the men’s Triple Crown of Surfing. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
In 2010, the then 18-year-old Hawaiian began making her case for greatness when she was accepted onto the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Tour. Moore won two events, earned a nod as Rookie of the Year, and graduated from high school. She was just getting her bearings on surfing’s center stage. By 2011, Moore crushed the female competition in surfing’s main events. During the ASP World Tour, she placed first in three events and never placed lower than third to win the overall title. In her two years on the tour, she’s already raked in $225,000 in purse money and attracted top-notch sponsors such as Red Bull, Roxy, and Nike.
Even though the women’s ASP World Tour ended early due to lack of sponsorship dollars, Moore’s season continued when she got wild card slots to surf alongside the world’s best male surfers on the male tour at the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Van’s World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, both on her home turf of Hawaii. The events are in November.
“I’m kind of nervous, but I’m also really excited,” says Moore. “I’m being realistic about what is going to happen. The guys I’m surfing against have a few more years and more experience on me, so I probably won’t make a heat, but if I do, great. That would be awesome.”
“I was just hugging the face of the wave waiting for it to barrel,” says pro surfer Bruce Irons, who was willing to give his pal Sam McIntosh’s “flare surfing” idea a try off Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands.
First the crew tested the idea in the very early morning. “I really didn’t know if it was going to work, or if the flare would just burn right through my board,” notes Irons. Once they felt confident in the mechanics, they set out at night. “We took a Jet Ski out to where the waves were meant to break,” says Irons. “I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of the ski.”
When the wave approached, a friend pulled the flare chord, and Irons jumped. A world-class surfer like Irons makes it look easy, but do not try this at home. “Considering my buddy Peter almost lost his eyesight pulling the flare cord on this night, I would say stick with what you are taught as a kid: Don’t play with fire.”
Getting the Shot Having recently photographed the Nike “Just Do It” night ad campaign, photographer Jason Kenworthy was familiar with photographing surfers at night. “It was dark and there was only one chance to get it … no do-overs,” recalls Kenworthy.
To make this photograph, Kenworthy was located on a skiff looking directly into the barrel. “Focusing was a challenge due to the darkness. And with the dropping light, you are constantly guessing on your exposures—and then second-guessing,” says Kenworthy, who used a Canon Mark IV. “The 2.8 and instant stabilization worked great, and the high ISO settings came in handy.”
Former National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and reigning 10-Time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater won the 2011 ASP PRIME Nike U.S. Open of Surfing for the first time since 1996, defeating Yadin Nicol at the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, on Sunday, August 7, 2011.
The newest photography tutorial on Framework shows you how to improve your surf photos. Above, a surfer rides a wind-sculpted wave as Santa Ana winds blow the spray off the top at the Huntington Beach pier in 2005.
Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
On the far southern coast of Tasmania, jutting into one of the Earth’s most unpredictable and tempestuous seas, lies a point break so remote and isolated it’s reachable only by boat or an hour-long wilderness trek. This is Shipsterns Bluff, a cold and dangerously unpredictable break where waves start crashing at eight feet (two meters) but can top 20 feet (six meters). The waves’ characteristic steps trip even expert surfers–recently such as Kelly Slater and Ryan Hipwood (pictured)–and swing perilously close to rock fields, but the rush of lassoing the goliath of all waves beneath the coast’s dwarfing black cliffs keeps surfers returning. “The scariest part is seeing the wave and committing to catching it,” says local surfer Charles Ward. “But once committed, it all tends to feel surreal and I forget about everything except what’s right in front of me.”
“I had surfed and tow surfed here before,” says big-wave surfer Chuck Patterson about Teahupo’o, a renowned surf spot Tahiti. “But I always wondered what it would feel like to get tubed on my stand up paddle surf board—this is what I came for.” The water is sucked off a shallow, razor sharp reef, making the barrel break below sea level. “This wave is incredibly challenging to paddle into, let alone surf,” notes Patterson. “Any mistakes could be costly.” The photograph was taken by a camera mounted to his board.