Chasing Storms On The Eastside by craig levers

You can view this one larger   HERE

You can view this one larger HERE

The message back to Darren, Backdoor's marketing guru, was a firm YES. Yes I'm keen to go storm chasing with the Backdoor team, yep I can meet there, yep I can meet then... wait can we make it earlier and maybe even stay longer? The froth levels were super high, Darren had assembled the A team and the Low spooling off the East coast looked REAL good. 

5am Auckland traffic

5am Auckland traffic

What we hadn't really accounted for in our pre planning was the weather. We had over frothed.

Dawn.... beautiful driving and shooting conditions.

Dawn.... beautiful driving and shooting conditions.

Darren and the crew at stop one... you see a photo of Darren... I see a photo of the Troopy

Darren and the crew at stop one... you see a photo of Darren... I see a photo of the Troopy

The ol' when a wave breaks there, don't be here... Paul Moretti about to embrace the tumble cycle

The ol' when a wave breaks there, don't be here... Paul Moretti about to embrace the tumble cycle

The Low Pressure System was behaving itself and doing exactly what the weather gurus had predicted... we on the other hand and expected faster movement. We were a day too early. When you've been on enough surf missions, there's a mode you learn to adopt. Slow down, micro manage, fill the hours while you wait with meaningless tasks... want lunch? Find a warm cafe and make it last 2 hours. Need to catch up on your texts... write essays to your absent friends. The wind finally swung, the rain did not. 

A rare sighting of the Ceep... but how's the set up, love that $5.00 e-Bay umbrella/tripod bracket!

A rare sighting of the Ceep... but how's the set up, love that $5.00 e-Bay umbrella/tripod bracket!

Matty Hewitt's rain dance

Matty Hewitt's rain dance

Matt, rain dance v2

Matt, rain dance v2

Half the Backdoor team could only stay the day, so job on. We were lead to a perfect option thanks to Daniel Davie, credit where credit's due Dan made a great call, the waves were thick and rifling. 

Dan, absolutely styling it in his own front yard

Dan, absolutely styling it in his own front yard

Taylor Hutchinson perfectly poised

Taylor Hutchinson perfectly poised

Darren Celliers hunting down the hollow ones

Darren Celliers hunting down the hollow ones

Paul Moretti setting the tone for the next few sessions

Paul Moretti setting the tone for the next few sessions

Grom sensation Caleb Cutmore found a few rare open faces

Grom sensation Caleb Cutmore found a few rare open faces

It wasn't pretty, but we got the job done. Taylor, Matt and Darren couldn't stay. I would ague they had a misdirected work ethic. The rest of the team opted to stay, pleading texts were sent to partners and bosses. The rain persisted through the night. Was it going to be a wash out?

Taranaki's Daniel Farr drawing first blood first light

Taranaki's Daniel Farr drawing first blood first light

Klee Dummond as always, on the ones that drain just right

Klee Dummond as always, on the ones that drain just right

Your 7x national champ, our trip captain Billy Stairmand and the one that got away

Your 7x national champ, our trip captain Billy Stairmand and the one that got away

Billy's redemption

Billy's redemption

Daniel Farr charging down in the southern corner

Daniel Farr charging down in the southern corner

Bill with board change [board snap] number 2, the cost of charging

Bill with board change [board snap] number 2, the cost of charging

..and the clear dividend of said charging

..and the clear dividend of said charging

Paul, at the 'this is probably not going end well' moment

Paul, at the 'this is probably not going end well' moment

Again, Paul's dividend

Again, Paul's dividend

Paul...ok at this point there has to be a forewarning ... there's a lot of images of Paul, aka Pablo, aka the Rook. It was his session

Paul...ok at this point there has to be a forewarning ... there's a lot of images of Paul, aka Pablo, aka the Rook. It was his session

Whitianga's own Jay Piper- Healion well locked into cruise mode

Whitianga's own Jay Piper- Healion well locked into cruise mode

Jay in a nugget

Jay in a nugget

_B7A6680.jpg
Bill in full flight and steaming for the exit

Bill in full flight and steaming for the exit

Pablo... he just kept finding them

Pablo... he just kept finding them

Not the same wave

Not the same wave

But definitely the last one of an epic session

But definitely the last one of an epic session

Why the last? Well that lip got me pretty good, blew the water housing out of my grip and sent me into a crab dance on the sand. We both came up laughing, and the camera survived

Why the last? Well that lip got me pretty good, blew the water housing out of my grip and sent me into a crab dance on the sand. We both came up laughing, and the camera survived

Thanks has to go to Darren and Hutch from Backdoor Surf for pressing the go button in this team trip, check out Backdoor's social media, Sharp Eyes NZ, Channel Islands NZ and all the lad's Instagram accounts for more of the images. Brodie Jackovich was on hand too videoing, I've seen the rough edit, it's gonna be a sick clip when it drops. 

From The Galleries

_B7A6456.jpg

There were lefts too! Big hollow perfect peaks, I've added this one to the Wave Gallery, fricken LOOOVE it. Wanna see it bigger, want it on your wall? Well click here ... and while you're there, there is a like button and sharing options, help a fulla out, share the love :)

Got The Cover! by craig levers

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.20.17 AM.jpg

If you've been getting these E-bombs and weekly posts for awhile, you'll know I'm not one spare of a few words or four. It's an occupational hazard of being a surf journo hack. I've lost my words this time though. The latest issue of Smorgasboarder is about the hit the surf shops in Australia and NZ. Dune Kennings is on the cover; it's a shoot we got together a while back, a winter session at North Piha. Dune is on the board his Dad Lynden shaped him, January 1, 2000. Dune's very first board, the one he learnt to surf on. 

I'm stoked beyond stoke. Stoked to have landed a magazine cover again. Stoked that it's an international mag. Stoked that it is Dune, at North Piha and on THAT board... wait, apparently I've found my words! 

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.20.36 AM.jpg

The latest issue of Smorgasboarder's lead feature is ummm.... me! I knew the interview was going to be published, but figured it'd be rightfully tucked away in the back. It's not, it's fricken front and centre, bold as fuck! I have to say there's definitely a bit of ol' Kiwi humility kicking in.  Whaaa? Holy shit, that's not what I signed up for! But I'm stoked on the photos Dave and the crew from Smorgasboarder have used, stoked on the look of the spreads. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.21.51 AM.jpg

Cale Tolley back in print! This image was also used by NZ Post as the cover for their presentation pack of NZ Surf Breaks Stamps

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.22.11 AM.jpg

AJ Matthews, casual as

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.22.28 AM.jpg

Dune getting another spread

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.22.48 AM.jpg

oooshhh! South Piha and the Lion looking pretty. This image is also on the store from of Back Door, Barry's Point Road

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.23.18 AM.jpg

The book The South Seas gets great props in the feature

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.24.50 AM.jpg

The 12 page feature is bookended with a bang, Elliot Paerata Reid under a nice thick lip

Has the word stoked been used too much in this post? Definitely. Bloody chuffed to land a cover! 

Check out the full new issue of Smorgasboarder HERE  

The Book Store

_B7A3893.jpg

Wanna check out the Photo CPL Media books? Well the link is HERE
10 years of Publishing Hard covers and no sign of stopping anytime soon :)

Roady Time! by craig levers

_B7A5660.jpg

This week was always going to be about a mid winter wave hunt. It always is, it's my birthday week. I'm pretty sure I've prattled on about Gisborne holding a special place in my heart, but here I go again. In my late teens when I was living on the Gold Coast I hung out with a lot of surfers from Gizzy. And they all ripped. They'd recall stories of epic Gizzy Island sessions, how hard it was to get out there, how good Stock Route was. It hammered home how good it must be.

This week’s treats

This week’s treats

I didn't get down to Gizzy for another 4 years, the first trip was with Col Johnson, Sos [Steve Sosich] and an American surfer. We went to Mahia and slept in the Pines, got skunked with the wind and drove back to Wainui to find it pumping. Clean 3-4 foot lines pouring in at No Access. It was crowded! And everyone seemed to surf really well.

A Tuesday Stock Route Special

A Tuesday Stock Route Special

Soon after that I started working at the surf mag. I was working with a Gizzy native, Chris [Budge] Berge. And at the the time there was a huge Gizzy push of talent, Clint and Eddie Daly, James Fowell and the grommets; Maz Quinn, Damon Gunness, Brent Rasby, Chrissy Malone and Blair Stewart were all making names through the junior ranks. Budgey made sure we never missed a chance to be back in Gizzy. 

It set the tone for the next 15 years. We'd stay right on the beach at Schools, Wainui in Teddy and Smurf's flat with a revolving cast of flatmates. There'd be a minimum of 6 road trips a year to Gizzy, sometimes more, never less. There was criticism levelled at the mag that it was too Gizzy centric. We remained unrepentant, there was a real push of talent from the province. And dammit the waves are so good. 

Makorori blurs and hues

Makorori blurs and hues

Troopy Porn... don't you worry, more to come

Troopy Porn... don't you worry, more to come

Every year I vow to get back to Gizzy more, more often. Every year slips by and the trips are less. I don't like it, life gets in the way. 

This week was awesome. The gorgeous Ange and I had 4 blissful days surfing and sunning along Wainui and Maccas. The waves weren't epically epic, truth be told the banks are a bit blown from the swells Gizzy has copped over the last month. It didn't matter, there was still fun to be had. The weekend was packed, the week days were mellow. Good catch ups with old mates. Never enough time to catch up with anyone really. 

Lines for days

Lines for days

Young Nick don't surf

Young Nick don't surf

Home away from home, heater on full blast

Home away from home, heater on full blast

The infamous Stock Route wall, Stick 'Round Maz? Nah, Stock Route Mafia

The infamous Stock Route wall, Stick 'Round Maz? Nah, Stock Route Mafia

Stock Route and not another soul out, clearly must've been in the wrong place

Stock Route and not another soul out, clearly must've been in the wrong place

Gorge Textures

Gorge Textures

See ya again soon Giz-Town. 

The Book Store


_B7A3893.jpg

Wanna check out the Photo CPL Media books? Well the link is HERE
10 years of Publishing Hard covers and no sign of stopping anytime soon :)

Back On The Map and Ric by craig levers

And the world's worst kept secret is out... 

_B7A3453.jpg

Late last week the Herald 'leaked' the information that there was a very real chance that Piha would host as World Qualifying Series Event in 2020, not only that, but the organisers were going for gold, it will be a 10,000 star event. As such attracting, possibly, all the very best surfers in the world. I feel that I have to stress here, I'm not being glib, and trying to be all like 'told you so'... but it's hardly been a leak or much of a secret that it was on the cards. For the last year it has been the chat over a post surf coffee at the Piha Store. Is it gonna happen, what will it mean for Piha? Is it a good thing? Isn't it gonna be sick seeing how Slater tears apart our waves? Isn't gonna suck that we'll be invaded for a couple of weeks by wave greedy pros? Me? I dunno, the jury is out... but I'm actually tending towards the selfish surfer in me.  

Here's a good report on it from NZ Surf Journal. 

Ric on Tv! 

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 11.54.27 AM.jpg

Ric Christie hosted and absolutely starred on last Saturday's episode of Fresh, TV2. One of Fresh's Field Directors is Raglan surfer Olly Coddington, Olly is the man behind the scenes that put this ep together, including contacting me for all the archival images used in the show of Ric. I'm completely biased, 'cos I've known Olly since he was 13 and he's a GC, a bloody champion, but that said I reckon Ric did a bloody good job in front of the camera. Check it out HERE 

_49A1413.jpg

Olly Cods, smashing the Bar earlier this year. 

The Book Store

_B7A3893.jpg

Wanna check out the Photo CPL Media books? Well the link is HERE 

10 years of Publishing Hard covers and no sign of stopping anytime soon :) 

Coffee With Kim by craig levers

Kim Westerskov is a name many of you won't know. In the circles of NZ and wildlife photography he is revered. You mention him to another photographer and generally they'll go 'Oww, you know him?!' In truth I don't, not really. 

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 7.54.48 AM.jpg

check out this article on Kim 
 
Very early on I became aware of his work. Somewhere, somehow I knew that the acclaimed Antarctic wildlife photographer had his roots in surfing. In the early '70's he was getting images published in NZ surf magazines and Surfing World. In the late '80's I became fascinated with underwater photography. I worked and a Surf'n'Dive shop at the time and my guess is that's how his work started to inspire. 

Amongst a long list of accolades Kim is a 5x BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The BBC's are the world's most prestigious photographic awards. He has authored a staggering 18 books, not to mention the many he has supplied images for.  You're getting the idea... he's the real deal. 
 
Just this summer we caught up for a coffee. I was fan boying out. As it turns out Kim shares a deep connection to the west coast. He has regularly spends weeks in his campervan exploring the coast. 
 
We are from different generations; Kim is 20 years my senior, but we do come from a similar era of photography. We were both schooled and versed in film. Both started pro shooting in analogue. Both have endured the transition from film to digital and the negative impact that has had on our profession. 
 
Wait, you say, what, negative impact? Well, firstly there's no question that the advent of digital was always going to come. We can all shoot more and for longer. Digital photography has opened the world to being more visual and it has made photography more accessible. These are good things. But it has also meant more people can shoot what used to regarded too hard. Swimming out into the ocean with a roll of only 36 exposures was reserved for the most determined. Where once images taken from in the briny were valued and respected for the effort made to get them, now we are saturated [pun intended].  
 
Nowadays these images are better than ever before. That's awesome, truly. More people shooting more means there is going to be a higher standard. But it also means we've all become hardened critics, to be wowed it has to be something extraordinary. 
 
The digital revolution has devalued our trade. I'm not complaining, it's just a fact. Evolve or die.  And these are the types of issues two veterans talk about over coffee.  How to survive the revolution.
 
Kim has adapted well. He mentors, talks and leads classes. He gives back, sharing his vast skill set. In fact just talking to Kim you see him animate and get excited about sharing all that is photographic.  
He's a photographer's photographer. He doesn't get too tied up in how the image was made, it is all about why and what the image is of. He thrives on the concepts of getting under the skin of the subject. He's still driven by the desire to convey and evoke emotion. 
 
This week we caught up for a coffee again... code for two and a half hours of blissful geek talk. New software, better workflows, social media domination... all that boring stuff. But what really stuck was Kim's love of his craft. Here's a sample; the evening before we were hoping to meet up for a photo mission to Karekare, I got stuck in town. Kim scored an insane sundowner session, he was so rev'd up and in the moment he stayed on the beach shooting until midnight. Now he moves on to Whatipu for a few days shooting, before returning to Piha to capture the big swell that's about to hit. 

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 8.07.42 AM.jpg

If you have ever considered taking a class, this is the guy. Check out Kim's work and website HERE
 

The Book Store 

_B7A3893.jpg

Wanna check out the Photo CPL Media books? Well the link is HERE  
10 years of Publishing Hard covers and no sign of stopping anytime soon :) 

It's Retro Bro by craig levers

Over on Instagram for this week I'd posted a bunch of retro shots with the stories behind them. Some date back over 20 years... I could have gone further, but their choice was largely on the memory they sparked. For this post I'm going to let you in on all of the upcoming daily selection... you get to see them first. 

Starting with the first two that have been posted.

r cover_original-sharpen.jpg
DSC02327.jpg

Here we have my old mate Troy Riley one of the original HB Jamas. This was a pacific trip in 2006 with Morehu Roberts, Blair Stewart and Sam Willis in tow. We scored perfect waves and got a ton of super full frame water shots which were the style of shooting back then. The deal was to almost be showcasing your water skills as a surf photog; the downside was that the fisheye lens distorted the shit out of everything. Case in point Troy is a booble head in this image. In 2006 I was still shooting water on film; digital still had a way to go to match film so I’d be swimming a half K through the lagoon out to the reef pass with only 36 frames in the housing. It meant you made every frame count. The vibe on this trip was epic, thanks fellas for making it so. The group cocktail shot is L to R Troy, Sam and Morehu.
We cashed in on a flight deal that included 4 star accomodation that had a reef pass straight in front and the other passes were close. The deal included free buffet breakfast, so our routine was, up before first light, shoot until 9am, back for the buffet, rest, shoot again, eat, shoot, dinner with ridiculously huge cocktails, in bed by 9pm...repeat. The perfect Photo trip. 

hts.jpg
chrissychamp.jpg

Chrissy Malone at HTs in 1999 and the portrait is from the year before just a week after he’d won the National Open Title. This was the first photoshoot a NZ Surf mag had funded to the Ments- by that I mean the publisher paid for me to go, the surfers had to find their own funds. Everything was shot on film and at the time I was also shooting video on a Canon XL1. We produced a terrible video called SOS which was Surfers Over Seas. Again it was such a different era, where it was such a rarity to see images and footage of Kiwis charging OS that there was a real demand for it. The trip was bookended by Damon Gunness having his 21st on the boat... here’s a tip... don’t get a hangover in the Ments on a boat with no air conditioning. It really isn’t worth it. The charter with Kiwi Owner/Captain Moose on the Kuta Laut was awesome, Moose is so dialled into the swell and spots- still is. We came back 50 rolls of film exposed, which in the scale of things isn’t that much, but at the time my publisher wasn’t happy about the processing bill. But there were covers, features and poster shots that ended up all over the world. Chrissy still charges hard, living in Raglan and owning the ledge when it gets over 6 foot. His son Navryn is charging too- rad to see you behind the ski the other week Nav!

_MG_5885.jpg
_MG_5971.jpg

Paige the Grom! By 2006 it was clear that Paige Hareb was going to be a dominant force in surfing, she had won back to back U16 National Titles. The reserved teenager was winning every grommet event there was. And in the mid 2000's there was a large circuit of comps, both Rip Curl and Billabong NZ putting on their own series which ran back to back. It was hectic and expensive for the families involved to get their grommets to all the contests. But I think the companies did succeed in fostering young Kiwi surfers, Paige, Billy and Ric were all groomed through these years. Both Leon Parkin from Rip Curl and Scott Casey from Billabong were passionate about pushing the junior scene.  
Within 18 months of these two shots being taken Paige would win her third National Title; Womens Junior and was catapulted onto the world stage with her break through WQS win in W.A. She never looked back, becoming NZ's most successful World Tour Competitor. In full disclosure, I've interviewed Paige for the next book; NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 2 which will be out in November... so I've got the stats dialled in.

DC 1.jpg
P1000469.jpg

The day I nearly quit [again]. The surfer is Danny Carse, and at the time he was the best young surfer out of Otago. I loved shooting with Danny, every single time you'd walk away with something special. This shot was taken at North Piha just after a Quiksilver Air Show in 2002. And we were about to chase swell down to Gizzy with the Electric Eyewear Team. This image is on Velva film using a 15mm Fisheye with a Canon Eos 5 camera in a waterhousing I'd built. Because the NZD was so weak and my publisher, god bless him, couldn't keep stumping up for the tweaks and changes I wanted as I learned the craft. So I had to make my own, I wanted to.  
Over that summer I worked super hard on getting strong content for the mag. We were using a new scanning house to digitise the images, they had a state of the art drum scanner... we were about to find out they didn't have a state of the art Scanner operator. In 2002, because the image files were so huge to do the mag layout we worked with low resolution image samples. The Scanning house would then replace the samples with the high resolution image pre print. Because we were working in low res, we didn't pick up that every single scan had a blur over it. And we couldn't pick it up on the newsprint proofs we used to get. If you look closely at Danny's air you'll see the hills in the background have a weird edge on them. The whole fucking issue from cover to cover was blurry and it was out in the bookstores. It broke me, I'd worked so hard to make the images, and for the reader it would have just looked like all the images were out of focus. To add salt to the wound, the scanning house lost all of my original photos from that issue. I started looking for a new job, I was so disheartened. But I also felt I had something to prove, I needed to be a part of an issue that was strong. I held in for another issue...and then another... until mid 2008. 

The mug shot is of course Danny with his little brother Ric Christie. Ric's surfing is hugely influenced by Danny's style, every time you see that back knee drop inwards, that's a bit of Danny. This shot was taken during the Taranaki Nationals 2007. 

o12.jpg
o13.jpg
op1.jpg

Matt Hoy, summer 2003, Whanga Bar. Again this was straight off the back of one of the Piha Quiksilver Airshows. Hoyo would MC the events with Hawaiian John Shimooka. The Airshows were fricken awesome events all the Aussies would come over and the local board riders Keyhole would host a massive party/bbq at me old and sadly departed mate Bazzy's place. The Air Events were fast and high entertainment, they were over in one day and spectators could really get their heads around the concept. The last Airshow at Piha was held in pumping waves with clean offshores. I vividly remember a competitor getting a stand up barrel into a huge closeout hit, and getting a zero for the wave, he'd just got what on any other day would be a 10, but the wave didn't give him an air section and that was the rules- it was an Airshow- rough! Anyways... after the Airshow Maz, Hoyo, Bosko, Troy Brooks, Ry Craike and Craig Warton with me in tow chased cyclone Dobi down to the Coromandel. The idea of the week was that Quikky needed to shoot their winter wetsuits, so the poor lads had to surf in brand new full suits, they were marinating!  

This week; well I'm writing up a storm for the aforementioned NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 2 book. Warren Hawke is again at the helm and I'm just the lowly publisher slash contributor. Wazza likes to keep the content of the book pretty close to the chest, but I can tell you that the spreads I've seen so far are making me pretty bloody chuffed to be involved! OK, back to punching keys on the board... 

The Book Store

_B7A3893.jpg

Wanna check out the Photo CPL Media books? Well the link is HERE 
10 years of Publishing Hard covers and no sign of stopping anytime soon :) 

3 Cool Things...and more by craig levers

My good mate Luke Darby made this little clip last week. Luke is a graphic designer, filmer, web designer and fellow camper van geek. In fact we have worked together off and on since 1993- scary. Luke built www.photocpl.co.nz

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 9.15.35 AM.jpg

Check out  the video HERE 


Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 9.28.25 AM.jpg

That was Tuesday's waves... then on Wednesday Dave Swan from Smorgasboarder Magazine interviewed me for the mag's regular podcast... I think I had a bit of a shocker, I know not to umm and errr, to keep the word flow succinct and flowing ... I sure as hell didn't do any of that! But its live now and the feed back has been positive. You can listen to it HERE


And Deeeeeen

The first photos I ever took, when I was 13, were at Bob Hill Park Bowl in New Lynn. I shot a roll of film using my Dad's camera of Tony Halam and Mark Robinson in the bottom bowl. Dad was pissed off I shot a whole roll of 24 shots. Whenever I get the chance to shoot skate, especially Vert I  grab it. Work gets in the way, surfing takes priority... shooting skate doesn't happen enough. Last Saturday Morri hosted the Dunga at Onehunga and he gave me access to the platforms- thanks Mozza! 

_B7A4266.jpg

U16 little legend Liam Haze rocking

_B7A4284.jpg

U16 winner Rico Henare 

_B7A4499.jpg

El Presidente Ramon Thackwell... as in Ramon's the president on Skateboarding NZ 

_B7A4519.jpg

Squeak McKenzie on his way to 3rd in the Open 

Best trick went to Stephen Nickolls... not for this slide, although it was pretty fricken sick

Best trick went to Stephen Nickolls... not for this slide, although it was pretty fricken sick

Wellington's Chris Wood won.

Wellington's Chris Wood won.

The Mount's Ants Mcloud escaped the kids and doing the lawns by coming up for the weekend- good to see ya mate!

The Mount's Ants Mcloud escaped the kids and doing the lawns by coming up for the weekend- good to see ya mate!

Scott Woolston on his way to 2nd in the Open

Scott Woolston on his way to 2nd in the Open

Cale Tolley with easily one of the biggest airs of the day

Cale Tolley with easily one of the biggest airs of the day

Aaaaand Deeeennnnn

stairmand_a4524gco19stagg1.jpg

The post WAS titled 3 cool things... but on Sunday Billy Stairmand won the Gold Coast Open... It was Mother's Day and he dedicated the win to his Mum who passed away two years ago from breast cancer. You're a bloody legend Bilbo. 
 

From The Galleries

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 10.41.45 AM.jpg

Well, there's one place that would have been on the absolute cook this week! If you did go I hope you took out everything you took in... looks after this special place and don't shit in your own backyard! Love the place? Maybe you want to own visual proof of the biggest swell in years. Check it out HERE



Consistently Inconsistent by craig levers

I've been having a shocker with the PhotoCPL Web Logs

_B7A3817.jpg

Instead of posting last Thursday's, there was a mission to the East chasing unicorns. I'm not going to resort to bagging the Eastside .... this time... 'cos I do love it, most of the time. But last Thursday's highlight was not the 20 waves I caught [please note, waves caught not waves ridden.] It most firmly was the post surf Butter Milk Chicken Burger at the Mangawhai Tavern. Worth a day off work and 4 hours of driving for a burger? -Actually, probably! 

_B7A3854.jpg

Looks good aye! Well it was; good but not great. Warren Hawke and I are closing in on the final content of the next book we are doing. As such I don't need good surf to visually record, I need great surf. Last Thursday just wasn't quite that, but you've gotta go to know. Had the wind stayed a tad more west, instead of flicking sou-southwest we would have been on like Donkey Kong.

_B7A3790.jpg

Kent indicating which way the wind is blowing.  Next time Eastside, next time I'll get ya. 

IN THE MEANTIME

7E9E6C8E-E7DA-4619-B879-97206C33418F.jpg

Matauri Bay Crystal on canvas at 1200mm wide 

20190504_090232.jpg

Piha Storm on canvas at 1200mm wide about to be hung in Oregon

BD6CA694-508F-42BE-95FD-67FA45EFB9BE.jpg

Piha Bar PanoTe Waha Blooms and a slice of Tui Triptych all on canvas at 800mm wide in the UANZ offices 

It has been a busy week of commissions, there are a couple more coming through too. It's always a huge stoke to work with clients directly and of course see images the way they are meant to be...BIG. 

From The Book Store

_B7A7822.jpg

This week I did a podcast with Dave from Smorgasboarder Magazine, I'll post the link when it goes live. But most of the chat was about the South Seas book, how we started the project and how it's become such a big thing. Don't know about the South Seas? Wait, you don't have a copy? Check it out HERE 

South Bay Pumps by craig levers

And it keeps on giving... Last week REALLY pumped on the West Coast. 

The West Coast of the South Island, Taranaki, Waikato, Auckland and the Far North all had their moments of greatness. Locally last Friday was the day. 

This image got so many likes on Instagram it had to be added to the Wave Gallery   HERE

This image got so many likes on Instagram it had to be added to the Wave Gallery HERE

While everyone else zigged left, Dune chose to zag right to find some diamonds in the rough

While everyone else zigged left, Dune chose to zag right to find some diamonds in the rough

...and that he most certainly did

...and that he most certainly did

A welcome return to fine form, Bren-dizzle nursed a few bombs through the back to the inside racecourse

A welcome return to fine form, Bren-dizzle nursed a few bombs through the back to the inside racecourse

Bren-dizzle locked and loaded

Bren-dizzle locked and loaded

Perenial Westcoaster through'n'thru Tui Eves slowing things down for the fold

Perenial Westcoaster through'n'thru Tui Eves slowing things down for the fold

This was a very expensive surf for James Leary, prior to this he'd snapped his beloved 6'4 step up

This was a very expensive surf for James Leary, prior to this he'd snapped his beloved 6'4 step up

Atila Sombra sat down on the racetrack and picked off heaps of runners

Atila Sombra sat down on the racetrack and picked off heaps of runners

Nick Brown Haysom on a rare wall

Nick Brown Haysom on a rare wall

To give a bit scale Gareth aka Big G is 6'3"...maybe taller...either way he's a big bloke on a solid wave

To give a bit scale Gareth aka Big G is 6'3"...maybe taller...either way he's a big bloke on a solid wave

Bill Byers on the other hand isn't much over 5 foot. He was joking he was gonna die before paddling out, instead he snagged some bombs and came in stoked he'd survived

Bill Byers on the other hand isn't much over 5 foot. He was joking he was gonna die before paddling out, instead he snagged some bombs and came in stoked he'd survived

Raglan native Ollie Codington snuck out after work and was frothing

Raglan native Ollie Codington snuck out after work and was frothing

Ollie Cods, no time for a wetsuit

Ollie Cods, no time for a wetsuit

Aramis Goodwin stalling the crap out of his foamy

Aramis Goodwin stalling the crap out of his foamy

Dune finally succumbed to the temptation of a few lefts

Dune finally succumbed to the temptation of a few lefts

And Deeen.....

The 2019 Aotearoa Surf Film Festival is ON! Check the dates in your region HERE
  

From Galleries  

SouthBayPumps.jpg

As mentioned, this line up from last Friday has been added to the Waves Gallery. View it larger, in more detail with the purchasing sizes and media options HERE

Te Bar by craig levers

_B7A1157.jpg

It was a funny old summer on the west coast. It has been a scorcher and I'm certainly not complaining about that. Now that it is officially autumn there's a realisation that our normal go to summer banks along the more exposed beaches just haven't happened. There has been too much swell and not enough off-shore days to groom up the sand. It's been a summer for Raglan and the Naki. We've been lucky out at Piha, the Bar has had sand on it for months. 

Local Lad Bill Byers tackling the very wave his Grand pop Peter did in 1958

Local Lad Bill Byers tackling the very wave his Grand pop Peter did in 1958

It's far from vintage Bar, but it has been Piha surfers' summer saviour. And although it's not epic, there have been brief moments of greatness.... if you can get a carpark at south, or thread a link up through the 60 other surfers all trying their luck.

Sorry mate I don't know your name, but man you know how to catch waves!

Sorry mate I don't know your name, but man you know how to catch waves!

Brent Alexander finding a Bar pocket to smash

Brent Alexander finding a Bar pocket to smash

_B7A1138.jpg
_B7A1139.jpg
_B7A1140.jpg
Piha regular Safa Bourne Buirski laying some serious rail...on an all too common Bar flat section :)

Piha regular Safa Bourne Buirski laying some serious rail...on an all too common Bar flat section :)

Bourne clearly in a state of dehydration and loosing his mind

Bourne clearly in a state of dehydration and loosing his mind

hmmm there's a theme here... blue steel from Luke Cedarman, lock up your daughters

hmmm there's a theme here... blue steel from Luke Cedarman, lock up your daughters

Luke higher than the over inflated Piha property prices

Luke higher than the over inflated Piha property prices

_B7A1198.jpg
_B7A1199.jpg
Fair to say Luke's new Brad Buckle shape goes well

Fair to say Luke's new Brad Buckle shape goes well

Inner Bar detail

Inner Bar detail

Here's some more shots of the Bar from last Saturday's Keyhole Single fin event, fun time and lotsa shooting from me :) 

What are you doing this weekend???

46028830_10161259387195434_2311482576151248896_o.jpg

Come join the rabble at Mangawhai this Saturday, it's the 5th annual Logger Heads. [Yep, that would be a CP pix made into something really cool by Threadbox]

53146077_1595064947304470_6920255709103783936_o.jpg

And straight after on the Sunday you might as well stick around 'cos then there's the Cove Fish Fry, in it's 6th year of operation! 

And Denn...

DukePosterSocialMedia-03-03.jpg

As part of the Duke Festival in New Brighton this year.  

 And Dennn......

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 10.02.48 AM.jpg

The 2019 Aotearoa Surf Film Festival is ON! Check the dates in your region HERE

As one of the founding Judges of the ASFF I'll let you in on a lil secret, this year's feature films are bangers! I reckon the strongest selections in the ASFF's 5 years of running.

The NZ Short films, well... the creator of the ASFF Nick Stevenson's key driver is to support and nurture surf young filmers, give them a goal and in fact pretty darn good prizes. This year pickings were quite thin, the cream did rise to the top and what you'll see at showtime is good stuff. But moving forward; If you're a passionate filmer, here's your chance to get some recognition and support. Start shooting for next year now!  

From The Galleries

PihaGapB&W.jpg

International award winning goodness! This moody wonderment is heading to Oregon as a 2000mm wide canvas this week. Pretty darn stoked, actually it gets me frothing to make more Piha panos, love the coast!
You can check Piha Storm out in more detail HERE

IMG_4295.jpg

Don't worry about the hand on the print, it's ok, it's an UV lamented canvas

Groms, Controversies and Date Nights by craig levers

It has been a busy ol' week, competitions, good waves and big editorials.

_49A7557.jpg

Local Lad Bill Byers chaired up after his comp win and U14 2019 Billabong Grom Series overall title

_49A7406.jpg

Bill making buckets

_49A7674.jpg

Fellow Piharian Gabby Paul on her way to claiming the 2019 Billabong Grom U18 Girls Series title

_49A7735.jpg

Raglan's Caleb Cutmore outshone the field taking out the U18 win and overall series. 

It was a wild and wooly day for the last stop of the tri series Billabong Groms this year. The two day comp was compressed into one day because of the bad weather and big swell predicted for Sunday. Two arenas were held, which for a photographer, makes for gnarly shooting. You have to place yourself between the two arenas and work your peripheral vision. I like it, keeps you on your toes. For the full gallery of the images I shot [which is 33% of the A's] Check out Surfing NZ's FB page HERE  

Did you pick up in the big swell call? Course that means one thing for Monday right? 

_B7A0885.jpg

Hectic paddle outs at Indies and good catch ups with mates

Luke Darby and I day tripped down for a rad day, here's Luke's quick cut... 


Just Yesterday The NZ Surf Journal released their Top Ten

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 9.46.40 AM.jpg

I love these things because they inherently cannot be right. They are highly contentious at the best of times. My call would be, anyone would say the surfers making the rank deserve to be there, but what about such and such and so and so????  I was part of the jury, and I got quoted quite a bit... oh crap! Hahaha guess I have to stand by my words now :) 

Check it out, it's a great read HERE

And Dennn......

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 10.02.48 AM.jpg

The 2019 Aotearoa Surf Film Festival is ON! Check the dates in your region HERE

As one of the founding Judges of the ASFF I'll let you in on a lil secret, this year's feature films are bangers! I reckon the strongest selections in the ASFF's 5 years of running.

The NZ Short films, well... the creator of the ASFF Nick Stevenson's key driver is to support and nurture surf young filmers, give them a goal and in fact pretty darn good prizes. This year pickings were quite thin, the cream did rise to the top and what you'll see at showtime is good stuff. But moving forward; If you're a passionate filmer, here's your chance to get some recognition and support. Start shooting for next year now!  

From The Galleries  

PihaGapB&W.jpg

International award winning goodness! This moody wonderment is heading to Oregon as a 2000mm wide canvas this week. Pretty darn stoked, actually it gets me frothing to make more Piha panos, love the coast!
You can check Piha Storm out in more detail HERE

Hanging Out With Paige by craig levers

New Plymouth from Paritutu

New Plymouth from Paritutu

This is a tricky post to write. You see, the punches have to be pulled. Against the grain, instead of busting out the gold...and there is some real gold... the best images from the last week have to be kept aside for NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 2. It is rattling, somewhat counter intuitive, not to put the best foot forward. BUT, the whole goal of the last week has been to hang out with New Zealand's most successful international surfer Ms Paige Hareb.

Hi Paige!

Hi Paige!

I don't really know Paige that well. I did shoot the 29 year old a fair bit while she was still a Junior competing in NZ. For the last 15 years Paige has been living out of her suitcase, traveling the world to combat the WQS and WCT. So the quiet, somewhat shy 14 year old I didn't know in the early 2000's sure isn't the confident, grace filled athlete Paige is now. The objective, and real enjoyment for both Ange and I, was to just hang a bit with Paige and her parents Mike and Fiona. Just to have normal conversations and spend some time connecting so that when I do interview Paige for The Collection the questions asked lead to informative answers for the reader. 

_49A5810.jpg
_49A5811.jpg
Power to burn at Rocky Lefts

Power to burn at Rocky Lefts

Ange, Fiona and me ol mate MH perched up at Rocky Lefts watching the show

Ange, Fiona and me ol mate MH perched up at Rocky Lefts watching the show

Paige wasn't the only one gouging the lefts and dodging rocks

Paige wasn't the only one gouging the lefts and dodging rocks

_49A5993.jpg
Speed slides

Speed slides

_49A5935.jpg
Poise and precision pretty much sums up Paige's act

Poise and precision pretty much sums up Paige's act

Air B'n'B opportunity???

Air B'n'B opportunity???

Sorry, not sorry, indulgent Troopy porn... but seriously what's not to love

Sorry, not sorry, indulgent Troopy porn... but seriously what's not to love

Oakura slowed down a minute.... ok that's a bit to obtuse camera speak. This is a 60 second exposure using a 10 stop neutral density filter to give the composition a slightly other worldly/paintery feel

Oakura slowed down a minute.... ok that's a bit to obtuse camera speak. This is a 60 second exposure using a 10 stop neutral density filter to give the composition a slightly other worldly/paintery feel

Same technique to make the ocean look milky and smooth

Same technique to make the ocean look milky and smooth

Taranaki's Surf Highway summed up perfectly by Liquid Murals

Taranaki's Surf Highway summed up perfectly by Liquid Murals

Opunake's board walk or stick fence or just plain border, or if Trump was a surfer??? ...I dunno but it's pretty cool

Opunake's board walk or stick fence or just plain border, or if Trump was a surfer??? ...I dunno but it's pretty cool

Our time... and I find myself writing this about every roady... but our time in the Naki went all too quick, not enough old mates caught up with, not enough waves surfed, not enough photo opps taken. The love for the region rekindled and a collective vow to get back sooner than later. 
 

From The Bookstore  

_DSC0242.jpg

The Big Little Beach Book's second print is going SUPER well in stores! Phewwww. It has the Three Sisters, Fitzroy and Oakura featuring in it  You can check out more of the book HERE

Boat Lyfe by craig levers

_B7A0267.jpg

.... or Sea Campers as my bro Kent and I prefer to call them. It's a laugh of course, but it's funny 'cos it is true. A lot of electrical and plumbing systems in caravans and campers are the same innovations used in boats. 

_49A5770.jpg

I've always been in love with the idea of accessing surf breaks from the sea. I'm lucky, my grandfather Jack Walters got Ces Watson to build him a 45 foot Kauri hulled, bridge decker launch in the early 60's. It's a cool story; Ces built the boat in Jack's engineering factory. Jack, being an ex marine engineer, did all the motors and engineering fit out himself. 

_B7A0254.jpg

Boat Lyfe hard out

_B7A0219.jpg

Will Bailey catching dinner 

_B7A0233.jpg

Horrible place to be

_B7A0235.jpg

Terrible 

The Almitra has stayed in the family, it was my father Lance's pride and joy. And now my brothers Rhys and Kent continue the legacy of curating Big Al [Almitra's nick name]. I know that Lance [and Jack] would be proud of how the lads are maintaining and upgrading Big Al.  They honour the family legacy with their thoughtfulness and care. And it is a very special thing that now, Rhys's three boys are growing up as Kent and Rhys did; Sea Camping around the Hauraki Gulf and beyond. 

_B7A0312.jpg

Kent's sea gull impersonation

_B7A0351.jpg

Ange emerging from the depths

_B7A0293.jpg

Kent the dugong

This week was my first outing on Big Al since Lance passed just over three years ago. Time goes fast.  As ever, Big Al looked after us well. We surfed, fished, swam. Mungies off the fly bridge roof, too much BBQ, too much fun and laughs. 

From The Book Store

_DSC0242.jpg

The Big Little Beach Book is dedicated to Lance. He made many of the images in it possible while he was sick. He and the Almitra have a few cameo appearances. You can check out more of the book HERE

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 10.59.18 AM.jpg















Surf Guiding by craig levers

Surf Guide -slash- directory books sit in a strange place in our culture. We all love to hate them. We hate that our personal favourite spots [even though they may be well known] are 'exposed'.  But sure enough, when it comes time for a roady, the surf guide is laboured over and consumed with delight of what lies ahead.  Surfing is filled with contradictions. 

Back in the day my boss David Hall wanted the NZ Surf mag staff to do a NZ Surf Guide. It was totally understandable from David's viewpoint. The Mag had an awesome archive of images, we were going to surf spots all around the country shooting. In fact, a reason he employed the staff he did was because we had a better than average idea of where to go. And we had the magazine to market the book. 

We all refused point blank. We explained that we needed to keep going back to these spots make magazines.  That having positive interactions with the surfers that had chosen these places to be their home was vital. Producing such a book would alienate us from the core. We just didn't want to be 'THAT GUY'. 

Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 9.30.31 AM.jpg

And then Pete Morse and Paul Brunskil did it. Decades of surfing knowledge and then years of compiling and research.  They produced the little brick of book The New Zealand Surfing Guide  . They did an excellent job, way better than we would have done at the Surf mag. 

David Hall was not happy. As far as he was concerned, we'd missed a golden opportunity to make good money and consolidate the business. Of course he was right. But the fact remained, that as staff members and photographers of the country's top surf mag we were very visible. There was no doubt it would have made our jobs, ongoing, very difficult. I talked to Pete Morse about it at the time, he confirmed he'd had to field some horrid conversations. Threats of violence and worse.  

The NZ Surf Guide has gone on to be NZ's top selling surfing book by a country mile. Paul Brunskil is cagey about the numbers, but we're talking tens and tens of thousands of copies over the years. 

Paul and I started work on the comprehensive South Pacific Surf Guide. And this is a book that you will never read. I wrote and collated the whole damn thing, spent months on it.... and then dropped nuts... again. While doing the research and talking to a lot of the surfers up in the Islands, I realised I was trying to cash in on a resource because I needed income in the short term. 


The World Cover.jpg
IMG_3383.jpg

This week I got paid for my contribution to The World Stormrider Surf Guide. It's a gnarly book, weighing in at 2.5 kgs and 450 pages. I doubt I'll get hate for the images they used, for the spots they 'exposed'. They are hardly off the beaten track. But you never know, us surfers, we are a contridictory band of misfits. 

From The Bookstore  

southseas600x500.gif

The South Seas Revised Edition, no maps drawn here! The South Seas is all about celebrating the great surf we have in NZ via some of the incredible Kiwi photographers and their work. While the South Seas first edition, reprint and revised editions are in no way nipping at the heels of the NZ Surf Guide sales wise, it is kind of nice to be the distant second most popular NZ surf book. Check it out HERE

The Nats Back In The Naki [finally] by craig levers

The Naki Nats 

Clip c/o Surfing NZ and Damon Mead.... Meady slaying the content output yet again

I've officially got full blown FOMO. For the first time in a VERY long time the Nationals are being hosted by Oakura Boardriders. This is an awesome thing, hopefully a healing of the long standing rift between the Taranaki Boardriders' Clubs [Not just Oakura] and the National body. It has been a coup in many ways, prior to the week of competition Stent Road was firmly off the menu; Locals had agreed to let the competition be held at any other break except Stent, which in my opinion was fair enough. Then, in a massive concession Stent was opened.

This week's Nationals have scored some of the best waves a competition has had in years. NZ's top surfers are being showcased in world class waves, and they look good. To add extra spice to the event Ric Christie was granted a concession from the WSL to be able to defend his 2017 Open Title. It's a coup too for Surfing NZ's new General Manager Ben Kennings, his first Nationals at the helm is looking tight. [From the outside anyway.] 

Check out Surfing NZ's Facebook page for more videos HERE


Want to Own

empty ocean road.jpg

New Zealand has a rich surfing history, which is slowly being recorded and preserved by books like this. Ian is one of the Mainland's pioneering surfers, so this book should be the real deal. I've got mine on order now, but I couldn't wait to review it to share it with you. 

Here's the official blurb; A definitive history charting the early development of surfing and surfing culture in the South Island written by someone who was there, Kaikoura surfer and writer, Ian Surgenor. This book has been thoroughly researched with each region, including Kaikoura , having its own chapter and is packed with detail and good yarns. It contains over 250 photographs including many that have never been seen before from the private collections of early Mainland surfers. A must for any surfing enthusiast.

You can get yours HERE

From The Bookstore

southseas600x500.gif

The South Seas Revised Edition does start with an extensive overview of our history too. There are first hand accounts from Kiwi surfing pioneers like Denis Quane and Mike Court. Check it out HERE

The CPL Top 20 of 2018...or so by craig levers

2018 was a good year in CPL land, I hope it was for you too. For the last few years the CPL E-Bomb has started the New Year with a look back at the visual highlights and lateral likes of the year that was. It's kind of a way of cleaning house and setting up the next year. Compartmentalising. In somewhat chronological order, let's get into it. 

Matt Newdick slicing past at the Logger Heads Late January 2018

Matt Newdick slicing past at the Logger Heads Late January 2018

Who cares that Matt's hand is cut out, how gnarly crisp is the shot and that style. This is was taken in the water at the Annual Logger Heads Comp, which means Matt was super close. The Logger Heads 5 is on again this January, come check out NZ's leading proponents of traditional log riding. Here's the details. 

IMG_FC8871558785-1.jpg

Ok, this image was actually taken the year before, BUT, in February Canon New Zealand used this image as their website homepage and did an 'In Focus' interview with me. I didn't get any new Canons to play with though, but it was a stoke to be selected/regarded as one of their pro's.

KauriPano001.jpg

Hashtag ishootfilm...still. As part of a group exhibition at Lopdell House I went bush and made a series of Panoramics using the 6x17 Fotoman Camera. The exhibition was an action to highlight Watercare's plans to decimate 10 hectares of mature natives at Waima, Titirangi, including multiple stands of Kauri. Sadly a lot of these Kauri now have Die Back. 

_B7A3209.jpg

We had an awesome summer season of waves out west in 2018. Everyone surfed A LOT.  March was a bloody good month, and the most favourite little corner of the coast turned on. Napes was there most days... hehehe...so was I! 

_B7A5137.jpg

I got an e-bike, a fat bike. for getting along beaches. Thanks to the absolute legend Neil Bridgens for building such a fun machine. As stated in the intro, there's gonna be some laterals and this is one of my favourite images hands down, it represents fun and mini adventures. 

_B7A3565.jpg

In late March the gorgeous Ange and I went on a tiki tour around the Eastcape. We got absolutely shunked for quality surf. Apart from me having a tanty half way through about being on the wrong side for surf [Taranaki was pumping the whole 10 days] We had an epic adventure in the Cambulance. 

tologa617v002.jpg

We shot lots of film, had some mean beach bike rides and nearly got stuck on dodgey roads a few times [the Cambulance pulled through everytime of course and we probably shouldn't have been trying to do what we were doing.] Tologa Bay Dawn, shot on the 617 camera and then drum scanned fricken HUGE. 

NoOneHome.jpg

Post epic non surfing adventure, and locked into roady mode, it was time for Far North east swell chasing. This five day mission was one of the best I've ever done...ever. The swell exceeded expectations, but also behaved exactly as the swell models predicted. The goal was to shoot and surf as much as physically possible. It was all about energy and injury management. I returned a happily broken man with a full quota of waves and images.

_B7A3896.jpg

Arty and so on trend right now, fricken LOVE It!!! 

SundownerTube.jpg

Sundowners everyday

_49A1777.jpg

May days are always good out west, it's kind of like the last of the summer wine. My neighbour Mike Mulcahy going hard on the end section of the Bar, which actually showed some pretty good form in 2018 at different times... I mean the Bar, not Mike; he's always in rare form. 

_49A1890.jpg

Winter is coming on and things are starting to slow down. That's a photo geek dad joke. This is Elliot Paerata Reid at North Piha using a slow shutter and panning the camera. 

_46A5571.jpg

Years in the making! At this stage, and I hope it's not true, the last and therefore current issue of Damaged Goods Magazine's main feature was a piece I did for them on the '90's. The whole issue was bookended with a '90's theme. 

_46A5598.jpg

It was super fun to do the feature, and really nice to see images like this one of Joel Tudor I shot at Pipe in 1999 used again.  

_B7A5206-Pano.jpg

And den.... The gorgeous Ange and I did a quick trip over the ditch to try out a pop top Troopy. We kept it simple and did 5 days somewhere neither of us had been, Hervey Bay. It was pretty random, there are no waves there. 

_B7A5409.jpg

The Troopy trial actually put us off changing campers. We were seriously thinking about buying and importing one of these from the rental company. But as well as them being terrible to deal with, the way the interior was designed and constructed was pretty poor; super hard to access the storage and just generally badly fitted out. It was still fun checking out a different part of Oz and ruling out this company as a potential camper source.

The low of 2018 was tearing my left hamstring. A word to the wise, don't do this, it hurts quite a bit. Thanks again to Greg Faunce and Steve Hill for chairing me up the beach to the carpark, you guys are legends. 

Hamstrung, there was nothing I could do except shoot photos right? 

_49A2913.jpg

Taylor Hutchison scored the wave of the day. Wanna see more shots from this winter session? Check it out HEREIt was rad. 

South Sumatra

_49A3189.jpg

I like rain

_49A3215.jpg

We got great waves... 

_B7A5825.jpg

Like... real good! 

_B7A6488.jpg

What makes a good surf trip epic is the crew you go with and these GC's sure as hell made this trip one for the books [or blog, or whatever is current] This trip was my first back to Indo in 10 years. I was burnt out on Indo, but more than that I just wanted to do different stuff, The States, Mexico, the Pacific ...and exploring our own coasts [having camper vans]. Even though the hamstring restricted my primary goal- a surfing holiday where I go surfing, this tour reignited the love of Indo culture and waves. 

_B7A6954.jpg

And then Cale Tolley  and I unveiled our plan for global T domination...NOT... but we did roll out Trophy Tees  they are stocked by Northbeach Nationwide and Backdoor in the Mount. Check them out, they have gone really well, we're both stoked. 

_B7A9365.jpg

The Bar got good again. It goes away, it comes back. This is one of the best waves I've seen on the Bar is a fair while, it was perfect. I frothed out on it and loaded to the website. It's HERE. 

46521712_1140019802828032_7335659147767054336_n.jpg

In November I got asked to supply an image for The Auckland Primary Champs. I decided to have some fun with it and make up a bunch of mythical Auckland surf breaks. It was easier than originally thought to be honest, but the highlight wasn't the photoshopping...ok that was pretty fun... but making up the captions for the surf breaks was hilarious. They created a huge amount of chat and, I hope a bit of a laugh. They are all in this blog

December;  potentially life changing... nah, not really. We bought a new camper....

IMG_4011.jpg

After the Troopy Trial earlier in the year, we figured out the pro's and con's of pop tops... pros; lower roof line, more stealthier, and with the right one, weight/load bearing. The con's ... cold, not good in bad weather, bloody expensive to get the good ones.  I found the hard top, ex Britz Camper, Storm Trooper in Otago, Ange wants to call it the Super Trooper, either way, first trip in and we're loving it. It is a downgrade in size from the Cambulance, and this is really proving to be a challenge. Stay posted for 2019, there's gonna be some adventures in this camper! 

Thanks for reading the E-Bomb/web log and other social media put out under the PhotoCPL banner. You guys rule. 

From The Bookstore  

_DSC0242.jpg

The reprint of the Big Little Beach Book has gone really well- pheeeww. What, you know nothing of this little winner of the book? Check it out HERE

The New Kid On The Block by craig levers

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 8.05.14 AM.jpg

Because I've been working in surf media for 25 years I get involved in conversations about the state of surf media all the time. I like these chats. It's fascinating, whether it be talking to a mate in a beach car park, catching up with a fellow surf writer/photog or bouncing off ideas with old colleges in the surf industry. Everyone has wide and varying opinions- that is the only surety. 

Just so you're under no illusion of my stance; as a sweeping generalisation the majority surf journalism you find online is pretty shit. For the most part it's thinly veiled Public Relations copy for a brand, that generally if you scrape a bit further, you'll find it’s FROM the brand. There's nothing wrong with that, you can garner information and entertainment from it, but it’s not balanced. The best example of this would be the WSL websiteYes, you will be informed, but the source is highly biased to positively promoting it's own brand, its events and its supporting companies. 

Then you have sites like The Inertia , Stab Mag and Beach Grit while somewhat independent, tend to thrive on the sensational and opinion pieces. Again, mostly there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to make the distinction between what is an opinion and actually a well researched robust piece of news. 

Nationally we have had nothing for a very long time. 

Surf2Surf used to have news and blogs on it, but for a long time now Paul Brunskil, its owner and director has focussed the site on it's knitting- surf cams and surf reports. The 'News' on Surf2Surf is largely re-sourced press releases. And that's ok, Paul's running to the business model that works for him. Then you had Surf.co.nz and GoSurf.co.nz, both now defunct sites that largely followed the Surf2Surf template.

In full disclosure, I was the editor of GoSurf until its demise. What we were trying to do with GoSurf was create a platform and portal that had surf reports, forecasts, surf cams, international news and locally created content, including our own created reportage and content. It failed. It failed because it was under capitalised and trying to do all that was too ambitious; plus a whole lot of other behind the scenes crap. It did not fail reaching NZ Surfers, at it's height I believe we reached 300,000 unique visitors per day and it was growing.  

Now there is a new kid on the block, and I am cautiously excited. NZ Surf Journal is founded by former NZ Surfing Magazine editor Derek Morrison. The Otago based photo journalist has lofty credentials, as well as the aforementioned, he's also been the staff photog and Deputy Editor of Australia Dirt Bike mag, contributed to many surf books, written and published books. Maintains and writes his own popular website Box Of Light, from which he sends out a weekly mailer [like this very one you're reading] to over 7,000 subscribers. Last month Derek won NZ Geographic's highly prestigious Photographer Of The Year as well as Wildlife Photo Of The Year. 

Derek has asked me to contribute to NZ Surf Journal. I have started with submitting content some of you have already read. There are also independent book reviews of The South Seas and NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 1.

So check it out, already there is a massive amount of news, views and information, written from a local perspective. My hope, and I think Derek's vision,  is that we will finally have a Kiwi Surfing website with local news that will be the community connector. Our perspective on the surfing world and our stories. Here's to the future. 

 CHECK OUT NZ SURF JOURNAL HERE
 
 

From The Bookstore

southseas600x500.gif

Want to stoke out on Kiwi Waves, or need that Chrissy gift for the surfer in your family? Well you need the South Seas Revised Edition in your life. Check it out Here 

The Storm Trooper by craig levers

#Camplyfe #Troopy #Vanlife 

IMG_3295.jpg

The gorgeous Ange and I love our Chevy Silverado 4x4 Cambulance. We've owned it now for three years, before the Chevy beast there was the Toyota HiAce 4x4 Camper which was really good too. The Hiace was a test of the waters, to see if the idea of being on the road and camping was really something that we'd enjoy. Truth be told we don't enjoy it... we fricken LOVE IT! 

46708537_496700154174482_4343502457964331008_n.jpg

I've especially loved the Chevy. I've loved getting in there and making modifications, as my Dad Lance would've said, a constant state of improvement. We've done a ton of work and learnt a lot along the way. Probably the thing I'm most proud of was doing the work to get the Cambulance certified self contained. But apart from tooling around on the Cambulance, it's the proof that being away camping has created epic moments. It's helped with photography. A big highlight of that would be travelling around the Mainland for a month finishing off the images for The Big Little Beach Book .
The Cambulance didn't miss a beat and created a luxurious base to work from, I honestly could have done another month no problem, I wasn't ready to stop. 

The Cambulance, at Karema, Westcoast prior to the awning and new rims being fitted.


The Cambulance, at Karema, Westcoast prior to the awning and new rims being fitted.

Despite all this, and I could rattle on for ages the pros of the Cambulance, we've bought a different camper. And even with both sitting in the driveway right now the jury is out as to which is better. We're downscaling. And we are totally in two minds. 

IMG_4008.jpg
IMG_4009.jpg
IMG_4011.jpg

Meet the Storm Trooper, aka a 1996 Toyota Landcruiser 75 series Troopy. Converted from new in 1996 by Britz Campers. It's going to be a challenge downscaling, but there are very valid reasons for the change and maybe not what you'd expect. The big reason is that the Cambulance is maybe too big, while it drives like a dream on the open road and around the reef at Shippies, around town is challenging. We're not quite ready yet to be motorhome owners. People are surprised when both Ange and I say it's not the petrol bill. Yes it's a 6 litre V8 Petrol, but it is a modern [2002] V8 with EFI, and it's not like it's your day car. 

The Storm Trooper has more. More electrics, better connectivity, solar panels... ultimately it could be a better off the grid wagon. But it is more compact too. And that's a big [little] motivation for the change. 

Apologies for the self indulgent email this week, but it has been a big week of changes, exciting and even a bit stressful. We've got a new toy to play with!!! 

From The Bookstore  

southseas600x500.gif

Want to stoke out on Kiwi Waves, well you need the South Seas Revised Edition in your life. Check it out Here 

Auckland; City Of Surf by craig levers

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to donate an image for the Auckland Primary Surf Champs. Together with the organisers it was agreed the image should be fun. This got me thinking about Auckland Breaks... the lack there of... and of course the rare mythical set ups that all Auckland surfers mind-surf and dream of. So why not have a bit of fun with that. Here are the UNREAL line-ups from Auckland; City Of Surf. 

46521712_1140019802828032_7335659147767054336_n.jpg

The poster that started this weird and woolly path of deception and dreams.

CompedPoster_PhotoCPL.jpg

Devonpoint. In the post Trumpocalypic Auckland, the world has settled on it's new West/East axis and the old Poles have melted. Both Great and Little Barrier have been mined  to the sea floor for their copper and guano as part of the Soviet economic bail out.  While the Greenies gnashed their teeth over the decimation of the two islands, Auckland's surfers wrung their hands with glee. The new Barrier Trench created the swell window they had dreamed of for generations. All the inner harbour reefs that had only previously showed in the wake of the Kestral now fire up on every south swell [which is the new east] 

MissionBayPoint.jpg

Mission Rights; which is actually not one of Auckland’s better waves but most popular. The long walls offer a fun wave that’s easy to catch on any section. Ironically just around the coast past St Heliers is the mythical right hand slab Achilles Point with its easy roll in, to drop out bottom death pit, to being spat out into the deep channel. Achilles Point is almost always double the size of Mission Rights, but not surfed as much. Auckland surfers stating the cafés and soy double flat latte decafes being far superior at Mission Bay. 

TeAttitude.jpg

The man made Te Atatubes.  As explained before, the new Barrier Trench created the swell window we had all had dreamed of for generations. 
But this did create an issue in the further reaches of the Waitemata Harbour, the swell created by the Barrier Trench pushed silt back into the harbour. The answer was simple, the Auckland City Council wisely [see told you it is factitious] put in giant man made swell generators up the harbour to create water movement which flushed the harbour. Once the natural swell had disapatied the Council engaged the swell generators located at West Harbour and The Old Chelsea Sugar Works [now defunct as sugar has long been regulated as an A class drug] to push the silt out. Logical.  
Some of the silt had already created the new massive sand dunes on Te Atatu Peninsular, which was deemed uneconomic to shift and a great tourist attraction.  In turn the Herald Island generator pushed refracted swell around the sand dune creating Te Atitubes, Auckland’s premier left hander. Although the hardcore still prefer the ledges at low tide Meola reef. 

AucklandCityHbridge.jpg

Fisherman's Reef, Northcote. When the swell generators were put in place at West Harbour and Chelsea Sugar works, it created so much swell in the harbour that many of the old ferry stops had to be ripped out and relocated. Northcote point was one of these. With the pilings of the wharf gone, swell from the Chelsea generator hit the point perfectly. Fullers in cahoots with the Auckland Council dropped in some floodlights and created the world's first public wave park with night surfing. To be fair, the intense barrelling left is probably too heavy for the European backpackers who flock to the point lured by the possibility of getting tubed through the Harbour Bridge. But the local Northcote Point Boardriders love the situation, prowling on the tourists under the thin guise of 'surf instructing'. Northcote Kindergarten was forced to become trilingual in English, German and Russian. 

NorthReefDream.jpg

North Reef, Takapuna. Of course Auckland's more consistent breaks like North Reef turned into swell magnets with the new Barrier Trench.  Once heavily regulated by local families like the Harveys, Claytons and Robinsons in the 80's and '90s it was the spawning ground for National Champions. But now with waves on tap nearly every day of the year the once treat of a peak is seldom crowded. It often gets overlooked in favour of the Bombie and O'Neill's Point just a block up the coast. Many surfers flag North Reef nowadays citing the razor sharp lava reef as too hard to walk over at mid to low tide.  

From The Book Store

southseas600x500.gif




Enough of these hoax and dreams, wanna stoke out on some real Kiwi Waves? Well the South Seas Revised Edition is the book for you. Check it out HERE

Off Shores by craig levers

Ok, this week's post is totally running on the premise that a picture tells a thousand words. And there is the best reason in the world for this. The surf is good, the tide is moving into the right place...I'm going surfing!!! 

Bit early for that sort of carry on isn't it mate!

Bit early for that sort of carry on isn't it mate!

Yesterday was the start of our first off shore run in a very long time. Everyone was/is frothing, where's the banks, when's the tide... where's my board!? Here's the images from yesterday...

Napes finding his own lines as per

Napes finding his own lines as per

The alluring corner pocket

The alluring corner pocket

Greedy's Lefts minus the man himself

Greedy's Lefts minus the man himself

New Father Mark'Coff Dawgy dog Jnr' Coffy holding down the takeoff warp

New Father Mark'Coff Dawgy dog Jnr' Coffy holding down the takeoff warp

When the sets roll in, don't stand there

When the sets roll in, don't stand there

The beast starting to show

The beast starting to show

This is an image I've been after for ages- stoked to get it and now offering it as a print   HERE     can you see the dragon head?

This is an image I've been after for ages- stoked to get it and now offering it as a print HERE can you see the dragon head?

Kye Bedford on the peak and charging the ones no one else wanted to know about

Kye Bedford on the peak and charging the ones no one else wanted to know about

Yeah, don't be there

Yeah, don't be there

I'm making it out to be bigger than it was, it was only 1 foot

I'm making it out to be bigger than it was, it was only 1 foot

See, definitely only a foot

See, definitely only a foot

Ok, maybe head height! #bestdadjokeEVER

Ok, maybe head height! #bestdadjokeEVER

There were some absolute perfect bombs rolling through. Case in point, so good it has been added to the print gallery too   HERE

There were some absolute perfect bombs rolling through. Case in point, so good it has been added to the print gallery too HERE

So, cool story; Lewis here paddled up to me and introduced himself as an avid subscriber to this very Blog. Thanks for your kind words bro and stoked to meet ya! Unfortunately a couple of waves later…

So, cool story; Lewis here paddled up to me and introduced himself as an avid subscriber to this very Blog. Thanks for your kind words bro and stoked to meet ya! Unfortunately a couple of waves later…

Lewis got clipped by a solid lip…oooch to the wallet!

Lewis got clipped by a solid lip…oooch to the wallet!

moments of glory

moments of glory

This is what I love to shoot, the detail and the push of the west coast. This has also been added to the Wave Gallery for your purchasing pleasure   HERE

This is what I love to shoot, the detail and the push of the west coast. This has also been added to the Wave Gallery for your purchasing pleasure HERE

45141397_328052751339156_322230574217428992_o.jpg

It is super exciting being a part of the Friends of the Sea collective, you can read more about it HERE
November 22nd we're shouting you Sal's Pizza and a tasty Corona to wash it down with. Friends of the Sea are putting on a group show at the Sustainable Coastlines Flagship. [it's the same venue the South Seas book launch was] 

Check out the Facebook invite HERE for more information 


From The Bookstore

_DSC0242.jpg

The Big Little Beach Book sold out in June. Then a couple of big store orders came in, so it has been reprinted. There is stock again, so if you missed out, you haven't!
Check it out HERE