Copious Island Time by craig levers

I love what I do, which is taking photos, still mainly surf related.  Then applying them to uses, whether it is making books, selling the images via the Galleries, working for a contest organiser or the more obvious; direct contracting to a brand. Over the last few years Copious has become one of my best clients, we do a shoot a season. The founding owner of Copious, Cale, is a good mate. We've known each other for 20 years. Sometimes it is hard to figure out which part of the shoot is work and what is play. We make sure the shoots are fun, and because Copious is based in board culture what we are shooting is what we love anyway. 

We have been trying to work a season shoot around the concept of an Island mission, an old school Island day. The walk along the beach, hanging in the dunes between surfs, surfs, the trudge home. Spring didn't work out- alternate shoot, Summer, well we all know how bad summer was for waves... but Autumn...now we are getting east groundswells.. So with a nice wee swell running Saturday was the day. Team riders, Lee Ririnui, Shaun Boucher and Harper Mcbride organised, Phil Josephs very kindly providing the boat. 5am alarm set. 

Here's a visual account of the day, minus the clothing shoots, you'll have to go over to Copious.co.nz to see those. 

From L to R - Shaun, Cale, Lee and Harper pre dawn

From L to R - Shaun, Cale, Lee and Harper pre dawn

Using a speedlite flash and rear shutter sync to create a feeling of movement with Harper

Using a speedlite flash and rear shutter sync to create a feeling of movement with Harper

Same technique with Harper, Lee and Cale

Same technique with Harper, Lee and Cale

Hard to beat that dawn flare, check the boats already anchored up

Hard to beat that dawn flare, check the boats already anchored up

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!

Rueben Woods framed up in pine

Rueben Woods framed up in pine

Harper showing the old boys some spray

Harper showing the old boys some spray

Probably the set wave of the day

Probably the set wave of the day

Lee

Lee

Harper

Harper

Cale showing the lads some rail work

Cale showing the lads some rail work

Lee has spent the last three years at The Raglan Surf Academy; backhand sorted

Lee has spent the last three years at The Raglan Surf Academy; backhand sorted

And forehand looking very much like Uncle Bennett's

And forehand looking very much like Uncle Bennett's

For an old bugger with a rooted back Cale probably shouldn't be putting his board there

For an old bugger with a rooted back Cale probably shouldn't be putting his board there

Not a sequence, just consistently good aye Cale

Not a sequence, just consistently good aye Cale

Terrible way to spend a Saturday working huh? 

Terrible way to spend a Saturday working huh? 

And still the sets pour in

And still the sets pour in

The long trudge home- a Kiwi surfing tradition

The long trudge home- a Kiwi surfing tradition

Check out more about Copious HERE

Check out more about Copious HERE

On The Telly

Just being a complete nerd... and squealling like a little girl- here's 800 Words take 2... The loosely Piha based TV hit airs both here and in Aussie. Last night's episode [season 2, ep 11] featured this scene, and yep that would be the CP print again. The conversation kind of went like this 'Hey we're shooting on location and we love your print on the wall, are you ok with it being in shot?" - 'Farrrk yes I AM! Go for it that would be cool as! '

Just click on the image if you want to see more detail...and of course- purchasing options

This image from another Island session was added to the waves Gallery last year... big things are happening with it, but I can't tell you until June. And yes that happens to be Cale in the foreground. Simply click on the image to view it larger and of course purchasing options 

A Real Deal Roady by craig levers

Back in the early 2000's, when I was the Editorial Director for the surf mag, it was really obvious the mag needed to get back to the roots of surfing. Reflect what Kiwi surfers do in their time off, what they daydream about doing. No prizes for guessing; it was, it still is and will always be road tripping, going on surf adventures with your mates.
I created the Primo Roady regular feature, we got Primo Milk on board as the naming sponsor.  Well, the bloody thing took off, readers loved it, it became a corner stone feature of every issue. The idea was always to keep it pretty loose, but at the very least be a genuine Roady. We'd get letters and emails with readers' own Primo Roadys. I'd have readers come up asking if we were on the Primo Roady. We had made a hit. 

The real deal, and one of my all time favourite Primo Road Trips with Skip James, Ben Young, Eli Smith, Glen and Phil Sheaf. We went trippin' round the East Cape, shot real guns, blasted punk rock and scored great waves in random places. Circa 2006 ish

The real deal, and one of my all time favourite Primo Road Trips with Skip James, Ben Young, Eli Smith, Glen and Phil Sheaf. We went trippin' round the East Cape, shot real guns, blasted punk rock and scored great waves in random places. Circa 2006 ish

The relationship with Primo lasted nearly a decade, that's a staggeringly long champaign in the fickle world of marketing. Somewhere along the way the feature got corrupted and barely paid lip service to the concept of a real deal roady, brands put the pressure on for their team riders to be on board. Highly orchestrated team photoshoots were presented as Roadys. I loathe it, each has their place, but I don't think there's a need to dress one as the other. The readers know, they aren't stupid. 

This Saturday one of my best mates gets married, Luke Darby and I have been mates since 1993. We actually met through working for the surf mag, he was our graphic designer. Oh don't worry, I've warned poor Jane, but she's determined to make the mistake anyway. I'm going to be a groomsman, I'm deeply honoured, actually even typing that out I'm grinning with happiness for the couple. 

The three stooges, the NZ Surf Mag Team 1993; L to R Luke Darby, Editor Chris Berge and some dodgey hair farmer down the back...me

The three stooges, the NZ Surf Mag Team 1993; L to R Luke Darby, Editor Chris Berge and some dodgey hair farmer down the back...me

What did Luke want for his Stag weekend? Get f@cked up and dragged through Auckland's seedier strip bars wearing a kids superman costume ...YESSSSS!!!! 

No. We are all over that crap. Been there, done that , and it was great at the time. We are wiser now [yep older ], Luke just wanted to go on a Primo Roady with his groomsmen. Get good waves, enjoy camp vibes; surf, eat, surf, drink, eat, sleep repeat... so that's what we did. 

Tomas Oki, Matt Sheales, Luke and some dodgey ex hair farmer... posing for the ironic

Tomas Oki, Matt Sheales, Luke and some dodgey ex hair farmer... posing for the ironic

Day One; four hours of this, 3 foot glassy lefts, gracious locals and mellow vibes.. 8 of us out sharing sets. Thank you guys!

Day One; four hours of this, 3 foot glassy lefts, gracious locals and mellow vibes.. 8 of us out sharing sets. Thank you guys!

The nightlife! Shit got crazy, drugs, strippers..running from the bouncers..oh wait... bed by 11 more like

The nightlife! Shit got crazy, drugs, strippers..running from the bouncers..oh wait... bed by 11 more like

The camp set up under the Milky Way

The camp set up under the Milky Way

Luke at the helm, Day two

Luke at the helm, Day two

Best public highway in NZ

Best public highway in NZ

Bluffing it

Bluffing it

Best $2.00 ever spent

Best $2.00 ever spent

Day Two's venue, another four hours of uncrowded fun

Day Two's venue, another four hours of uncrowded fun

All to ourselves

All to ourselves

We got hailed down by a retired couple in a big motorhome. My first thought was we were going to help them change a tire, do the good samavrtain thing- no worries- happy to help. I was wrong, they had just caught 10 5kg+ Snappers, did we want a couple? Are you kidding me! Wow, can this roady get any better?  Kiwi hospitality

We got hailed down by a retired couple in a big motorhome. My first thought was we were going to help them change a tire, do the good samavrtain thing- no worries- happy to help. I was wrong, they had just caught 10 5kg+ Snappers, did we want a couple? Are you kidding me! Wow, can this roady get any better?  Kiwi hospitality

Food comma, stag do participants in bed by 10.15pm on the saturday night

Food comma, stag do participants in bed by 10.15pm on the saturday night

Day Three's venue... the roady just got better

Day Three's venue... the roady just got better

Another few hours of uncrowded riding before hitting the road back to reality

Another few hours of uncrowded riding before hitting the road back to reality

On The Telly

Go on, admit it, you watch 800 Words on Tv One. The loosely Piha based TV hit airs both here and in Aussie. Last night's episode [season 2, ep 9] featured this little scene, and yep that would be a CP print. The conversation kind of went like this 'Hey we're shooting on location and we love your print on the wall, are you ok with it being in shot?" - 'Farrrk yes I AM! Go for it that would be cool as! '

Go on, admit it, you watch 800 Words on Tv One. The loosely Piha based TV hit airs both here and in Aussie. Last night's episode [season 2, ep 9] featured this little scene, and yep that would be a CP print. The conversation kind of went like this 'Hey we're shooting on location and we love your print on the wall, are you ok with it being in shot?" - 'Farrrk yes I AM! Go for it that would be cool as! '

Just click on the image if you want to see more detail...and of course- purchasing options

Just click on the image if you want to see more detail...and of course- purchasing options

Bad, To Good, To Exceptional by craig levers

Us surfers are a fickle bunch. Quite literally our moods will change with the wind. We can go from being grumpy malcontents to the most de-stressed happy chaps in a single surf. This summer the West coast has been terrible for surf. I've posted about this and why HERE . Things have changed. The coast has gone from bad, to ahhhh that's pretty good, to holey shit that's fricken PUMPING! 

It has been heavy, solid waves and full on rips. There has been carnage, on Monday evening Sam 'Sanga' Willis pulled into a barrel on Piha's Bar; sweet...no... He got axed, 6 broken ribs and a punctured lung. A very fast trip to ED, he's currently in Auckland Hospital on his way to recovery. There have been moments of greatness, I think I've had some of my best water photo sessions ever. Here is a sample of what has been going down.

Bevan 'Napes' Wiig has been on it every right tide, he's paid the price though; 2 snapped boards this week

Local Lad Braedyn Louie has had some serious time in the shade this week 

Whanga born'n'bred AJ Matthews pulling on his Bar training

AJ

Foamy beast with a hell of a lot of literage in its lip

Toby Dobson-Smith scratching over

Toby on a drainer

Nick Holmes, charged super hard and probably won the award for the most sea lice bites to boot

One of the most perfect waves I've ever seen

James McAlpine 

Another James, this time it's Mr. Laery 

so, so good this week 

Napes bowling it

Napes weaving hands free 

 

Bob Davie passed away last Tuesday. Aged 75 his passing has rocked the surfing community. The Surfer/Shaper was the first to do large scale production in the 60's and 70's. Allan Byrne, Rod Dahlberg and a host of top shapers were taught their craft by Bob. The term legend is bandied around too loosely, Bob was literally and actually a deadset legend. We've had a long running joke about a board he shaped me, it's a beautiful log, triple stringer, wood tail block, gloss coat. Bob has been horrified that I haven't surfed it- he made the board to be surfed, I can't bare the thought of waxing it. Bob's joke was always 'You ridden that board yet!' first thing he'd say; in fact that's how phone calls would start. Then if other people were around, he'd go for the shock line 'ahhh you're still waiting for me to die so you can put it on Trademe aren't ya!" I'd reply 'hurry up an get on with it', we'd both crack up, knowing Bob was quite chuffed he'd shocked some randoms. And that's our Bob, legend, but not invested in it, a wealth of knowledge, craftsman, prankster, father, grandfather... the man.

Bob Davie passed away last Tuesday. Aged 75 his passing has rocked the surfing community. The Surfer/Shaper was the first to do large scale production in the 60's and 70's. Allan Byrne, Rod Dahlberg and a host of top shapers were taught their craft by Bob. The term legend is bandied around too loosely, Bob was literally and actually a deadset legend.

We've had a long running joke about a board he shaped me, it's a beautiful log, triple stringer, wood tail block, gloss coat. Bob has been horrified that I haven't surfed it- he made the board to be surfed, I can't bare the thought of waxing it. Bob's joke was always 'You ridden that board yet!' first thing he'd say; in fact that's how phone calls would start. Then if other people were around, he'd go for the shock line 'ahhh you're still waiting for me to die so you can put it on Trademe aren't ya!" I'd reply 'hurry up an get on with it', we'd both crack up, knowing Bob was quite chuffed he'd shocked some randoms. And that's our Bob, legend, but not invested in it, a wealth of knowledge, craftsman, prankster, father, grandfather... the man.

The Bar And The Quest To Do Better by craig levers

The Piha Bar had waves this week. It's by no means the best the bank can be, but it's there. There have been moments of glory. There's also been entire South American soccer teams on rental boards going over the falls. 

Whenever the Bar comes alive I get excited, I've been on a mission for years to get the perfect Bar Barrel shot. 

click on the image if you want to see it larger...or even have it on your wall

click on the image if you want to see it larger...or even have it on your wall

This one has come the closest to what I've always visualised as the perfect Bar Barrel shot. It's been the most popular image on the website for sure and a lot of Piha locals have it on their walls; that's a big stoke, they are going- Yeah CP' you've nailed the Bar. The taper of the wave is perfect, you can see the exit. You can tell it's not just a one off peeler, from the white wash line of the preceding wave, this also shows this wave the biggest in the set. It was also shot when the Bar was in vintage form in the Autumn of 2014. But I want better, I know I can.

As a side note, I'm well aware that I owe a lot to The Piha Bar. Even though we all cuss and curse her fickle ways, images of the Bar have always been the most popular on PhotoCPL.co.nz

 click on the image if you want to see it larger...

 click on the image if you want to see it larger...

In 2010 the Bar did this. And the bank stayed around for months. This image took hours to make, hours of waiting, set up with the 617 Panoramic camera. Waiting for the perfect set and low evening light. It wasn't a chore waiting at all, it was fun being in the zone, just waiting for those moments of the elements coming together. This image is still running neck to neck with the Piha Bar Barrel in the popularity stakes. 

Then there is ol' faithful. 

Just click on the image for a better view

Just click on the image for a better view

Shot in 2000, this one's been in magazines, books, used by Quiksilver as a mural, by the ISA as a signature event image and of course adorns the living rooms of quite a few patrons. The Bar was in epic form, the whole beach was in fact. Long lefts off Taitomo Island to in front of the Surf Club connecting with the hollow rights breaking in front of the Lion. The beach was seriously a fun park.... 17 years ago!

So this week was really good, maybe not vintage, but I'm sure there's crew that got classic Bar rides that will be burnt into their memories. Here's some of my shots from the week that was. 

The Keyhole paddle...into the light

The Keyhole paddle...into the light

Bar Perfection? 

Bar Perfection? 

Orr Mate, so close! 

Orr Mate, so close! 

Taylor Louie setting it

Taylor Louie setting it

James Leary cutting it

James Leary cutting it

Close to the elusive perfect shot

Close to the elusive perfect shot

One of the aforementioned Bar locals with the Piha Bar Barrel image on her living room wall; team Te Ahu Boardrider Stephanie

One of the aforementioned Bar locals with the Piha Bar Barrel image on her living room wall; team Te Ahu Boardrider Stephanie

... and meanwhile elsewhere on the west coast .... 

... and meanwhile elsewhere on the west coast .... 

Napes hooking it while Jamie Piggins does the safety boat

Napes hooking it while Jamie Piggins does the safety boat

Nape's rail work on point

Nape's rail work on point

Taylor Louie chucking buckets

Taylor Louie chucking buckets

Over to the north...

Over to the north...

defo not in the happy place!

defo not in the happy place!

Tony Fletcher screaming around the base of a bomb

Tony Fletcher screaming around the base of a bomb

Dave Woods found some good shade this week

Dave Woods found some good shade this week

see... shady Woodsy

see... shady Woodsy

Book It

The Big Little Beach Book features Piha on the cover and in the text. In fact the Piha Bar Barrel image. How could it not. Did you know that every beach in the book featured has a QR code. You can scan the code and it will open up in Google Maps. With every publication there's an attempt to provide an interactive element- go that little bit further. But you knew that 'cos you already have your copy aye? What you don't and you realise you need this book in your life- just click on the images for more info.

On the Coro And Off The Grid by craig levers

Even with this summer being pretty average it's still been about getting on the road and camping. The Cambulance is getting a work out. The latest trip was swell chasing on the east, back to the top of the Coromandel - Waikawau Bay. 

Waikawau Bay hosts one of New Zealand's most idyllic DOC camping grounds. You can stay for as little as $13.00 a night, yep $13.00. The amenities are basic, long drops, cold showers, byo drinking water. But that's all part of the charm. Back to basics, plan ahead, be prepared.

Of course camping in the Cambulance ain't really that basic. Let's be honest, it's pretty much all about the creature comforts. My brother Kent has just gone the same way; camping, but camping in style. This trip was the maiden voyage of his new toys. A new two room inflatable tent and all the fixings; new camp kitchen, sun chairs, USB LED light system. Heaps of cool stuff! 

We got skunked for surf. The whole idea of the four day escape was to go to where the waves would be good. Eat, surf, sleep- repeat. The swell was too straight. Perfect 2-3 foot groomed lines would march in, peak up and then straighten out. Perfect head high closeouts. 

The weather played ball though. Four days of camplife, walks, surfs, swims, photos, food, cards, laughs, lots of laughs. 

Sunset drinks for Lucinda and Ange

Sunset drinks for Lucinda and Ange

Observing the sea change

Observing the sea change

Watching the light show

Watching the light show

Summer tones

Summer tones

Clouds race

Clouds race

Country road...that ironically, the Cambulance is too heavy to travel down; there's a 3000 kg gross weight bridge on it. The Cambo is 4000kg

Country road...that ironically, the Cambulance is too heavy to travel down; there's a 3000 kg gross weight bridge on it. The Cambo is 4000kg

Waitakaruru, home turf for the Levers clan. The community centre and it's ramp roof has always fascinated me

Waitakaruru, home turf for the Levers clan. The community centre and it's ramp roof has always fascinated me

The Aotearoa Surf Film Festival 2017
 

The ASFF is now in it's fith year. It has been an honour and privilege to be one of the founding judges on the screening panel since 2012.  We have to watch A LOT of crap, some years over 40 hours of it. But in amongst the rubbish there's always the lil nuggets. Those short or feature films that amp you to get wet, to travel, to be aware of your footprint.  

This year's selection is nice and tight. The roadshow dates are locked in. Here's the shedule

Gisborne - Dome Cinema

Sat, Mar 4, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Napier - Globe Theatrette

Mon, Mar 6, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Raglan - Old School Arts Centre

Thu, Mar 9, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Wellington - Lighthouse Cuba

Thu, Mar 9, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Whitianga - Monkey House Theatre

Fri, Mar 10, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

New Plymouth - 4th Wall Theatre

Sat, Mar 11, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Takapuna - Free Outdoor Screening

Sat, Mar 18, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Christchurch - The Gym, Christchurch Arts Centre

Thu, Mar 23, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Mount Maunganui - Free Outdoor Screening

Sat, Mar 25, 2017 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Nelson - NMIT

Sat, Apr 8, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Whangarei - Butter Factory

Thu, May 4, 2017 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Auckland - Crystal Palace - Grand Finale

Fri, May 5, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

You can book tickets straight from The ASFF website HERE

Book It

The Big Little Beach Book features Waikawau Bay. How could it not. Did you know that every beach in the book featured has a QR code. You can scan the code and it will open up in Google Maps. With every publication there's an attempt to provide an interactive element- go that little bit further. But you knew that 'cos you already have your copy aye? What you don't and you realise you need this book in your life- just click on the images for more info. 

At Logger Heads with the Bowl Jammed by craig levers

It was  a wonderful Waitangi Weekend of opposites. Diverse fun in the sun covering two board sports at opposing ends of the spectrum. 

The events' soundtracks pretty much sum up the polarities. The Logger Heads Longboard comp on Saturday had a gentle mix of easy listening ranging from '80's, Hall n' Oats style to current day Kiwi Reggae. Sunday, at the Mangawhai Bowl Jam, was all hardcore. From the '80's too; Black Flag, Minor Threat... then pretty much the Tony Hawk 2 soundtrack, through to Lamb Of God. Sunday's was my favourite. 

I'm in struggle street trying to write anything massively insightful about either event. Both grass roots events were very very good. Both delivered good vibes and excitement. So rather than continue down struggle street any further here's an edit of the images.  

The Logger Heads 2017... not even all of them either

Perfect log waves on the Bar first thing 

Eventual open winner, Sydney-sider Kai Ellice-Flint was leading from the start

Rock baking the judges and photogs

Trent Lillis contemplating how to get out the back 

The aforementioned, after dealing with the treacherous shore pound, well and truly over the nose

Moon Bob was styling as ever making both the final of the open and dunger division

Nicky Wellington surfs better than you. She won

Orewa Boardriders stalwart Mark Hoyle trimmed some bombs- now there's a caption that wouldn't make sense out of surfing 

The best image of Saturday? Cody Mant in the Juniors - his dad Paul watching on. Cody took this photo to school on Tuesday for show and tell

Kai matching Trent on the front foot 

A cleverer caption writer would figure out how to string jammed packed and Bowl together here

yep, that would be 8 year old Liam Hayes schooling us all

At the other end of the spectrum, Uncle Mozza quick plant... actually an actual living legend

The Mangawhai bowl creator Jason Parkes... as in, the man who designed and constructed the beast

Christchurch's Dan Kelcher rocking '80's stez all the way to third

Dan... Daune...'80's ...US Bombs.. crazy

Taupo's Bowman Hansen returned from Melbourne to regain his 2015 title

Bowman...

Squeak in the masters

Defending champ Shaun Boucher was hot on Bowman's heels in the Open. He didn't back up his 2016 win, but he did take out the biggest air with an 8ft+ method

Soul Kropelnicki won the juniors

Josh Wilson

Always the crowd favourite, Mikey Bancroft styling ridiculously smoothly as ever

Welly street skating legend Dallis Marshall

The ol boys; Ramon Thackwell, Morri and Steve Crump

Bowman back for the win

I'd like to thank Tony Baker, the organiser of the Logger Heads, and Jesse Peters, the organiser of the Mangawhai Bowl Jam for having me on the team as the events' photog. These guys spend countless hours behind the scenes grappling with council, wrangling slack surfers and skaters, trying to even find oil for a thread bourne rag so there's a sniff. They grind it out for months so we are entertained for a day. Youse fellas did bang up jobs.    

From The Galleries

It's the Mangawhai post! Have a closer look, how big do you reckon- 3- 4 -5?

It's the Mangawhai post! Have a closer look, how big do you reckon- 3- 4 -5?

The Death Of Surfing by craig levers

Surfing Magazine is dead. It's a big one, the biggest one to date. Started just four years after Surfer magazine in 1964, the two titles went head to head for decades. There were often fierce and vindictive battles. In the 70's and 80's staff members of the opposing titles would actively sabotage each other, these acts became folklore amongst surf journo’s.

Surfer would self proclaim itself as the Bible of surf, deadly serious and verbose stuff. Surfing Magazine set its sights more on the youth, its tone lighter and less earnest. As a Kiwi grommet of the 80's I lapped up both when I could find them. Tracks and Surfing World ruled the roost in the Antipodes though. Tracks was brilliantly irreverent, while being informative and current. Surfing World was pure surf photo porn.

In 1999 this sequence of Kerin Perrow at Backdoor Pipe was used in an advert in Surfing by T&C- I was stoked, straight after it T&C also ran A full page advert of Jason Shibata boosting a backhand air at Rocky Lefts. The original transparency was sadly lost- But I was stoked to get some shots, even if it was in adverts in Surfing. The spread above is out of the book PhotoCPL

In 1999 this sequence of Kerin Perrow at Backdoor Pipe was used in an advert in Surfing by T&C- I was stoked, straight after it T&C also ran A full page advert of Jason Shibata boosting a backhand air at Rocky Lefts. The original transparency was sadly lost- But I was stoked to get some shots, even if it was in adverts in Surfing. The spread above is out of the book PhotoCPL

There's an irony to lamenting the death of Surfing via an email and  blog. The general catch cry is that the interweb slowly strangled the life out of it. It could be argued Surfing's death warrant was signed years before.  Both Surfer and Surfing have been owned by the same publisher for the last two decades. Eventually one would have to go. 

The official line is that Surfing will be fallowed into Surfer. The staff blended in. But the contributing photographers and writers will be the ones that lose out. Yet another outlet for their creative endeavours has closed. 

There is a general gnashing of teeth and calls of more evidence of death of surf print media. I'm not sure I agree. Yes, the interweb has changed how we source our stoke. Yes, we garner surf information in different, more immediate formats. And yes, most sadly, an unfortunate side effect of the interweb is that an opinion is presented as fact. Stories are not robustly back checked. We are fed press releases as though they are creditably sourced news. Most of the surf websites suffer some pretty shitty and shoddy writing masquerading as actual journalism.

In 2003 this shot of Mikey Phillips also graced the editorial pages of Surfing magazine, again the stoke of seeing your work in an institution was never lost. Naturally it had to run in the PhotoCPL Book too

In 2003 this shot of Mikey Phillips also graced the editorial pages of Surfing magazine, again the stoke of seeing your work in an institution was never lost. Naturally it had to run in the PhotoCPL Book too

It's easy to forget that in the late 90's and early 00's there was a massive explosion of surf magazine titles. And with that there was a corresponding bloom of would-be surf journo's and photogs. Perhaps what Surfing's demise reflects is more a consolidation of surf print media. Not another nail in print's coffin. 

There's another thing that doesn't fit the 'interweb is killing surf print' argument. SURF BOOKS. Now before you scoff, and go, 'Ha! Saw that one coming. Bloody Ceepee pushing his own barrow aye!' I'm not, well maybe I am. But it's substantiated. The absolute fact is that never before have there been more surf books created annually. More biographies, more coffee table books. Surf print isn't dying, it's just moving with the demands of the surf culture. 


We, hopefully, will see Surf websites grow up and become conveyers of both opinion and creditably researched fact. We'll see surf magazines survive. The ones that go a bit deeper and celebrate the exponents and diversity of surf culture. And we'll definitely see more big, beautiful surf books published.  

There has indeed been a big death in the family. A senior member, an elder. But to be fair, it has been a long time coming, we had been preparing for years. But fore knowing doesn't make the departure of a dear old friend any the less painful. Farewell old stoke bringer.

From The Galleries

Ohhhh the kind of antipodean curves the old photo editors of Surfing would froth over. Just click on the image to see it larger...and purchasing options of course!  

 

Summer, What Summer? by craig levers

Lots of this going on... 2017 Champ Ella Williams finding a reform in turbulent, junky westie conditions

Lots of this going on... 2017 Champ Ella Williams finding a reform in turbulent, junky westie conditions

For 'Summer' so far, this has been the primary starter of conversations amongst my mates. While the general population do talk about the weather, Surfers TALK about the weather. We have to know a lot about patterns and weather systems, our source of enjoyment and wellbeing stems from wind and swell aka- WEATHER. 

And this Summer has been exceptionally crap. 

Here's what NIWA say:

Overview

The tropical Pacific continues to exhibit mainly ENSO-neutral conditions. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central Equatorial Pacific Ocean remain marginally below average. In the sub-surface ocean, the pockets of cooler than average temperatures that were present in November 2016 have contracted and warmed. Thus, it appears that any La Niña-like oceanic signal has peaked and is subsiding back toward neutral.

The atmospheric setup is mixed as stronger easterly trade winds in the central Pacific along with enhanced convection over parts of the Maritime Continent are consistent with La Niña conditions. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is weakly positive and is consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions. 

International guidance now strongly favours ENSO-neutral conditions (77% chance) over the next three month period (January - March 2017). By March-May 2017, the chance for neutral conditions rises to 87% with a meagre 8% chance for El Niño conditions and 5% chance for La Niña conditions. In summary, ENSO-neutral conditions are likely over the next 3-month period and should continue into autumn.

What does that even mean?

Well, the scary thing, as a surfer, I understood those three paragraphs perfectly. In non-surfing terms it means more of what we have had this last month. More blustery westerlies, more changeable days and more no surf days. We're less likely to get low pressure systems out of the Pacific that create east coast swell as well. To be honest, when I started researching this week's blog I thought I was going to be writing about an eminent change, a late summer about to bloom. Time to move to Gizzy fellas!   

We had one day, the only day of Offshores so far this summer, last Saturday. I went for a swim with the camera...  
 

The wet side of the Keyhole

The wet side of the Keyhole

The Dentist's Chair was putting on a great show

The Dentist's Chair was putting on a great show

Piha Bar showing some form! 

Piha Bar showing some form! 

Even better

Even better

...even betterer...

...even betterer...

Mischa Davis, 2017 National Longboard Champion, on her Hughsie retro shorty

Mischa Davis, 2017 National Longboard Champion, on her Hughsie retro shorty

Former gut sliding champ, now stand up surfer Adrian Bray, having a relapse...ENSO-neutral will do that to you

Former gut sliding champ, now stand up surfer Adrian Bray, having a relapse...ENSO-neutral will do that to you

More bush walks and mini photo missions for this fella. But I have to admit despite the less than even average outlook on the local surf front I'm liking the idea of going to Gizzy or even further afield in search of clean walls to surf. And the weather is always subject to change.  

This week's very mini mission around the Mercer Loop to make a pano stitch from Auckland's highest sea cliffs 

This week's very mini mission around the Mercer Loop to make a pano stitch from Auckland's highest sea cliffs 

From The Galleries

This will be a good place to be over the next few months; Castle Point, Wairarapa. This image was used as a feature spread in The Big Little Beach Book. Click on the image to see it larger...and of course purchasing options :)

The Nationals 2017 Done and Dusted by craig levers

The 2017 Nationals are done and dusted with a 30 year old record finally broken....or is it? 

Records inherently are made to be broken. For the surfers following the record makers they become goals, goals to better. From 1966 to 1970 Takapuna's Wayne Parkes dominated the NZ surfing scene winning 5 consecutive Open National Titles. In the mid '80's Christchurch's Iain 'Ratso' Buchanan matched Parksey's domination with 5 Open Titles. Maz Quinn has long chased the record with 4 Open Titles, but the magic 5 has thus far eluded him [I write thus far, because I don't want to believe Mazzy can stay retired.] 

Billy on his way to breaking records

In 2016 Raglan's Billy Stairmand matched the magic 5, and this year, yesterday he went one better claiming his 6th Open Title. It's taken 30 years for it to happen, but I suspect Ratso and Parksey could be chortling to themselves in private "yeah Billy, but you didn't get them consecutively."  The 2017 Title for Billy means 4 on the trot, he needs to win 2018 to match Parkey's and Ratso's 5 in a row.

Of course this is verging on quibbling and the stuff of Tall Poppies. The fact remains that over the last 8 years Billy has dominated the Nationals, he's been in the final bracket every time with Jay Quinn, Maz's younger brother and a 3x Open Champ himself, being Billy's [and Maz's] spoiler. It's fricken great stuff; high drama on the high seas! 

Ratso was on the beach to watch the final yesterday, he was one of the first to congratulate Billy as he was washed in after the last heat of the day. 'Nah, I'm not sad at all, I'm totally stoked for Billy, it's an awesome achievement. He totally showed his world class on that opening wave and the 9.53 he got for it' states Ratso. And whom more qualified to identify Billy's world class performance, Ratso has been the WSL's Championship Tour priority judge for 3 years and has been the WSL Europe Regional Head Judge since 2005.

I'm biased, unashamedly so, for half of Billy's titles he's stayed at my home. The gorgeous Ange and I have the Lucky House, we have the title wins to prove it. Billy's other titles were won in Gizzy and Dunedin. We love opening up the house to friends for the Nats, our little 2 beddy bulging at the seams for the week. The record year was 2004 with a revolving cast of 14... that was probably too many, but you know, you gotta find the limit right?

Bit of Supa-Glue and she'll be right mate! The Open Cup Trophy is a story in itself. The traditions around it, the things it has seen. For the record it takes 18 stubbies to fill it up, the tradition is that the Champ fills it and drinks about half then it's passed around to fellow competitors and friends as a way of sharing the victory. In 1998 Chrissy Malone won the title up at the Bluff, 90 Mile Beach. That night at Collards Tavern he did his duty filling the Cup and sharing it around. Chrissy then carefully stashed the Cup behind a speaker stack. The band came on, the mosh pit started, the speaker stack was pushed over pancaking the Cup. Chrissy paid for the Cup to be repaired, but it's never quite had the rigidity of its former self. Running repairs have become the  rule of thumb. It has self destructed a couple of times at presso's quite spectacularly. Here Billy 'welds' the handle on the day before it gets handed back to him. [When it did he was sure to grab it from the base]  

It has been a terrible week for waves but a great week of connecting and hanging out with the tribe. A weird week too. The Nats at MY beach and I'm not the contracted shooter? My already discounted rate to SNZ was undercut. I love the discipline of being on the sand shooting most heats, documenting new talent coming through, witnessing old rivals tough it out, the cut and chase of delivering pertinent daily material. And then I saw the weather forecast .... hmmm maybe not having to be beachside this whole week is a good thing. Turns out it was actually better being a free agent- this time anyway. The eyes were picked out of the few times that there was nearly good surf.

Here's some lateral images from the last half of the week that was- 

Wrong place at the wrong time! JC Susan definitely got a dud call on where to jump out, he kept his cool, while he got a rinsing of epic proportions he wasn't washed off the rocks.

Dan Kereopa's SUP Final didn't go well, but he still got a 2nd. His board was guillotined by an 8 foot double up out the back. He swam the 2 halves in, against the rip, but lost valuable time and energy. As he rightly commented later, it was lucky that it happened to him not someone else as he was confident in the situation

A couple of heats later Dune Kennings suffered a nose snap too. Reckon he got underscored on this wave because of the degree of difficulty 

Now there's a familiar free fall float, Dune's uncle Ben Kennings walking the talk. BK is of course the driving force behind SNZ, Conest Organiser, Director, Media Liaison Officer and general go to. He very literally is The Man. 

Keeping in the walking the talk theme, meet your SNZ president Chris Fougere battling it out in the Over 35 division final

Speaking of the plus 35ers and the Cup- here's Chrissy Malone clenching two more division wins; the Over 28's and 35's. Both off of his arch rival Jarrod Hancock

Mr J-Rod, 2nd in two divisions and denying us one [or two] of his legendary victory speeches ...but that is a story for another time

YES Marky Marc! Former T&C salesman, DJ and of course Stolen Girlfriends Club Co-founder finally got the monkey off his back and won. Marc Moore- your 2017 40+ Champ

The woman to beat, and she wasn't. Defending Open Champ Ella Williams dominated the field with her class act

Groms like Gabby Samson are right on Ella's tail

The Nats hold massive mana in NZ Surfing, a reason for that is the people that support the event, that have chosen to document the annual meeting of the tribe. New Brighton's Warren Hawke is a photographer who has been doing it since the 1970's... he attended his first Nationals in 1968. And here he is 2017 and loving it. Wazza was part of the crew at the Lucky House this week, he kept us enthralled with tales from the past and plans for the future. He sure ain't resting on his laurels. Waz is deeply involved in organising The Duke Festival Of Surfing... dunno what that is... click here  After contributing to Surf Mags for 5 decades, he's authored one book so far ; NZ Surf- Captured By A Surf Lens is a must have for any Kiwi Surfer. The link to that book is HERE  But it's just the start of this creative's output. 

Here's my not so Grom to Watch call from the week that was. Clearly carrying the family mantle for clinical heat surfing and savvy strategy Taylor Hutchison... just like his old boy Geoff. The young Raglan surfer made his way convincingly through the Open heats surfing confidently and shrewdly... watch out old boys- this grom is out for scalps. 

Loyalties are always torn during the Nats, and here's a big tear, my boy, my man Elliot Paerata Reid. The 20 year old stormed his way into the Open Final pretty much stamping his local authority on the comp with ultra high heat scores and combo's for fellow competitors...ahhhh I want my flatmate Billy to win....but how sick would it be if Elliot gets his first Open title at home, on the day of his 21st party...TORN, torn I tell ya. He played to go big or go home game opting to charge the huge outside Bar sets. The big gamble didn't pay off, instead he got lost at sea. In epic, and maybe foolish, sportsmanship EPR had bounced back even at the presso, he invited EVERYBODY to his 21st party. I bailed after the heart warming speeches and heart racing Haka, but from all accounts things got rightly messy.   
 

From The Galleries

This was a summer not that long ago, maaaaaan if only we had waves like this for the Nats last week. Click on the image to see it larger...and for buying options of course :)  

The Nationals So Far So... by craig levers

Hordes of surfing families and competitive surfers have once again descended on Piha for the Nationals. 

And it's a great thing. The motor camp is full with tents and motorhomes, the local businesses are humming with the extra influx. At its best, the Nationals is a showcase of NZ surfing talent, it's a meeting of the national surfing tribe. Friendships and networks are made and reinforced. There have always been the nay sayers and the haters, but there's always a negative to something that is largely a positive thing. 

The waves and weather have not played ball. Grey days of persistent onshore winds, crumbling junky swell. But in amongst the grey junk there have been pockets of goodness. Here's a little gallery for you from the week that has been so far... mostly free surfing around the actual contest.

Keone Campbell gouging

Gremmie tearing

Lookout open surfers, Josef Jungwirth is on his way

Dunedin's Elliott Brown has been a standout

Keone Campbell committing 

Sean Peggs speedlining 

Peggsy take 2

JC Susan looking the buso for the Open 

Elliott Paerata Reid combo'ed his fellow competitors in his Open heat

The locals did a fair job of representing 

Tiarua's Mr Peggs freeing fins 

Billy Stairmand showing why he's the defending Champ

Phil 'Bong' Griffin  with his trademark yellow board and paddling gloves

Fran Kora, joined the ramble for a evening free surf

Flyboy Callum Chautter 

Billy waaaay up the beach

EPR this morning 

Chch's Harrison Whiteside lofting high

EPR dealing with the morning's crumble

The contest is down to it's two final days. We'll be seeing a huge jump in the swell, not in the good way and the onshore winds will strengthen. It's going to be war at sea for the finalists. Stay posted for Sunday's post. 

From The Galleries

Yeah, this sure ain't going to be the view any of the competitors in this years Nats are going to get this week. Click on the image to see it larger...and for buying options of course :) 

Yeah, this sure ain't going to be the view any of the competitors in this years Nats are going to get this week. Click on the image to see it larger...and for buying options of course :) 

Day One by craig levers

The Surfing Nationals are back at Piha this year, in fact this very week. I'm not the official photographer this time, so it has freed me up to shoot the surfing around the heats. To maybe, hopefully, shoot the sessions the surfers actually want to go out in, not have to go out in. Last night, despite the onshore conditions a sweet little session went done. Here's a cheeky sample of last night's fun.... 

Billy Stairmand the defending champ

Billy Stairmand the defending champ

Ella Williams in the big Tasman

Ella Williams in the big Tasman

Grommie freeing his fins 

Grommie freeing his fins 

Grommet on the charge

Grommet on the charge

My flatmates for the week sharing meals and waves... Billy Stairmand and Sean Peggs

My flatmates for the week sharing meals and waves... Billy Stairmand and Sean Peggs

Peggsy, getting one away from Billy

Peggsy, getting one away from Billy

Keone Campbell on the tear  

Keone Campbell on the tear  

happy chaps

happy chaps

smashing the corner pocket

smashing the corner pocket

Keone in classic form

Keone in classic form

Peggsy 

Peggsy 

The Correct Foot Forward by craig levers

In this case that would be the left one. Over the weekend a beautifully wrapped lil' A5 parcel was sitting in my post box. It was Ant Green's new book Left Foot Forward.

The 66 page book is self published by Ant [plus cover- a pet peeve; when people include covers as text page count] and it's a mere $15.00. All profits are donated to Sustainable Coastlines - reason enough to order the book. Regardless of where the profits end up, the book is a visual feast. The limited edition, I've got number 106 of 150, celebrates Ant and his brother Matthew's journey earlier this year through South East Asia. The images are beautiful. Thoughtful compositions that nicely veer away from on-trend photographic styles. I'm not sure how to put it but for want of a better word there's a photographic maturity in Ant's style. 

I could bang on about the insightful passages of text crafted by Ant's fellow travellers, the clever non lineal use of the images, but the acid test is always; Does the book give you itchy feet to venture East? F$CK YES!!! 

Check Out more of Ant's work on his website HERE and on
Instagram HERE

 

...And The PhotoCPL Corporation... 


It is that crunch time of the year for anyone retailing any type of product, and being a one man band, cracks are sure starting to show! This very E-Bomb has been the primary victim, 2 weekly deadlines missed. Missed because of good stuff; big, long, exciting commercial photoshoots in exotic locales with bugger all inter web. And then back to packing orders. It has been a rush. 

Product splayed at Raglan Surf Co... stolen from the gram

Product splayed at Raglan Surf Co... stolen from the gram

The Big Little Beach Book has sold through 66% of the print run in it's first 3 months of publication, thank you fellas. 

New Release

This panorama has been added to the Beaches Gallery. It was made just this last Saturday evening. A lot of thought, trail and error have gone into this one. Waiting for the Pohutukawa blooms to be just right, balancing the sun against the blooms in shadow... oh yes there was a lot of complex internal conundrums... and then nature just did what she wanted anyway. Check it out bigger by just clicking on the image.

Cleaning House by craig levers

I'm going to apologise in advance if this week's post is a bit ho-hum for some of you. There's a couple of reasons I'm posting what I'm posting. 

#1. There's no surf, I just haven't been able to get to where there could, would be waves to shoot- and it stings.

# 2. There's a real awareness that the image galleries on PhotoCPL.co.nz aren't the greatest to navigate. They are great 'cos the images can be seen pretty large, the trade off is there's no slide show ability. There's a plan in place to fix this. But it's a real ongoing issue, naturally photographers want to share their work and showcase it in a way that at least hints at the quality. The problem is no one wants to try a view a 1 gigabyte photo on the inter web  [there goes your data plan]. 


So here's a little work around for your viewing pleasure, over a 160 images across the four Galleries in under four minutes. 

This is the Beaches Gallery on PhotoCPL.co.nz which is

This is the Waves and Line-Up Gallery which you can view HERE

This is the Americana Gallery which you can also view 

And this is the Elements Gallery which you can is online at PhotoCPL HERE

Other Exposures

Here's the latest Copious A0 summer poster, that's going into Backdoor and Northbeach stores around the country now, and that would be one happy Shaun Boucher holding out the poster. Shaun is the subject matter of the poster and he's on fire this year, winning every ramp and bowl jam nationwide. Last weekend he took out the annual ALC Ramp Jam in the Naki. Here's the full sequence of the ridiculous drop. It was part of the Copious summer campaign I shot last month- love those gigs!!! 

Check out more from Copious [and spot the Cp shots :) ] HERE

The Big Little Beach Book

Distribution is trucking along for the book. Shops are starting to place re-orders! Can't be bothered finding it??? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

Going Nationwide by craig levers

Every photographer has goals, it's only natural and proper. To strive to get better, then at some point other people start liking your stuff. I'm not trying to be a tosser here and claim past glories, it's more gratitude, grateful for the usages of images over the years. Money sure helps show gratitude! You do need it to live...and buy more cameras. But the lasting stoke is knowing your work has been appreciated and valued. 

It's really nice when someone makes a point of telling me they grew up on my photos in the surf mag, although I always get embarrassed. As you get older there's a new worry, are you still valid- it's a fricken horrible one. Especially if you've been immersed in a youth culture like surfing. I am officially an old salty dog, but let's grasp at 'established' and a 'senior member' of the craft??? 

...And then an image gets used by one of the country's most successful and established menswear labels, they use it in the front window of every one of their 25 stores nationwide, 2 metres x 2 metres. Of course the average Joe won't stop to think a second about Moon Bob paddling out into the sunrise, or who or how that was captured. But damn it looks good. 

Last Thursday Barkers' Albany store played host to the launch of the summer Barkers X Surfline range. You may remember I was a part of the team on the photoshoot, you can see some of the shots HERE.  It was a really cool evening and pretty darn packed too. I thought; get in, make sure to be seen to be there and then sneak out. But there were too many good people to catch up with, next thing you know it's closing time.
 

Surfline have a pretty cool gallery of the evening posted HERE 

And now I can share with you some of the A's from the day...

Part of the Barkers' brief was to also shoot video from the water. I reckon it came out mean as! 

Whatcha doin' on Sunday??? Well, if you're in the AK it sure as F@ck ain't going to be surfing!!! Come and get culturally enlightened at Bas van Est's new exhibition at Thievery Studios, round the back of K-Rd. Bas shoots from the water too, spending a lot of time in Tairua, he's also busy commercial photographer. He loves shooting grit, I love grit. His latest exhibition is grit. The gritty side of Qatar that the travel brochures wouldn't use, ironically if they did I'd be keen to go there.

For more details  just click HERE


New Zealand Wave Print Sets 

 

The shops are starting to get them out on display. What, you can't find it yet? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

The Big Little Beach Book

Distribution is trucking along for the book. Shops are starting to place re-orders! Can't be bothered finding it??? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

 

Barring Presidential Elections, Sometimes A Plan Does Come Together by craig levers

Firstly I just have to get it out of my system, America...wow, really...THAT guy? Ok, sorry, not the place, moving along.

Yesterday I came home to a courier box sitting at the front door, don't you love that, a mini Christmas. I knew what was in it. 



You may remember just a couple of months ago, late August there was a great swell Eastside, the images from that swell are HERE

Cale from Copious Clothing had a plan; his retailers wanted an iconic Mount shot T-shirt.  It's an ambitious plan, a big ask to try and get a banger of a shot. A shot good enough to design a T around. The weather and waves played ball though and we spent both the morning and the arvo in the water. There was a certain amount of ruthlessness in the way these water shoots were approached. My favourite water housing lens is the 15mm Fisheye, I love that you have to position yourself right in the barrel with the surfer to get the gold, I love that the Fisheye opens up the barrel. Here's a good example; 

Elliott Parata-Reid, we're both in our happy place

Elliott Parata-Reid, we're both in our happy place

The downside of a Fisheye lens is that you HAVE to be in the barrel, and backgrounds get pushed away. The brief was to have the Mount as a dominant feature, so the decision was to go semi telephoto. The ruthlessness was the camera was firmly pointed at the Mount and every image was framed up with the Mount, there was no getting distracted by what was happening up the beach.

This is what we were trying for ....

You can click on the image if you want to see it larger

You can click on the image if you want to see it larger

But we decided on a shot that had a human element in it. It is actually Cale in there, but that went against its choice, Cale didn't want a photo of him on the T. We came around to the fact that you couldn't tell it was him and regardless it's a pretty perfect barrel from an iconic New Zealand surf beach. Here's the shot...

Definitely a 'from where you rather be' moment! 

Definitely a 'from where you rather be' moment! 

Wait... you're thinking; yeah sure good single shot but he probably got clamped... hahahah NAH! Here's the sequence... 

The T-shirts are now in all the Backdoor Surf Shops and lots of the independents too. Available in any colour, as long as it is black, and in either short sleeve or long sleeve. Love it when a plan comes together!  

  New Zealand Wave Print Sets 

 

The NZ Wave Print Sets arrived early. All the pre-orders are out already. And the shops are starting to get it out on display. What, you can't find it yet? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

The Big Little Beach Book

 

Distribution is trucking along for the book. Shops are starting to place re-orders! Can't be bothered finding it??? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

Three Things by craig levers

This, That And The Other


... that's how my mate, commercial photographer Will Bailey starts his monthly mailer. It's simply brilliant; he selects three different images that he's made over the last month, say one from personal work, one fashion shot and one technical product shot. In three images he illustrates diversity, technical skill and the ability to shoot to a variety of briefs. And he doesn't write a word.   

THIS is the fun little photo mission I went on this week, the tide and the weather coincided perfectly to go have a bit of fun around at the Gap.

Straight after THAT, It was job on; back down to the Mount to shoot the Copious Summer mens range with Cale Tolley and Shaun Boucher. These are the dream jobs, combining fashion shooting with credible action shots. I can't show you the best ones, but here's a sneak sample.

The OTHER big thing that happened this week was the landing of the third and final piece of the PhotoCPL product lines. To compliment The Big Little Beach Bookthere has been a boxset of 20 notecards made. Unlike a lot of notecard box sets that only have a couple of designs, there are 20 different images selected from the book. 

There are 22 envelopes included [so you can make a couple of mistakes] and the whole boxset retails for $29.95 so it's really good money for value for money per card and envelope. $1.50 verses $3-5.00 you can sometimes pay for a card at the Stationers. 

Wait, wanna see them all... oh yes I did; another annoying time-lapse for you...

You can read more about [and purchase] the notecard boxset via the website HERE

When the Interviewer is Interviewed by craig levers

There is something that's been bugging me for a while now, this week it came to a head after I got interviewed for a photography website based out of Los Angeles. I'd like to throw it over to you, you're welcome to hit me back with your thoughts. Here's my rationale; 


I have interviewed and profiled a lot of surfers over the years. Firstly for NZ Surfing Mag, then for Surf 2 Surf, Go-Surf and 09 Magazine. I like reading a good interview, one that informs the reader about the character. A thoughtful question will often challenge the interviewee, but those answers are the real ones, the ones that share insight and thought processes. 

To be really honest most of the interviews I have done have fallen short of that mark. I've towed the line, a perceived line, that you don't want to rock the boat or risk surfers' relationships with their sponsors. Most surf mags fall into this trap, they forget that the interview is for the readers' benefit, not to keep the surfer or the industry happy. They end up being promotional fluff that would be more suited for the sponsors' website. There's nothing wrong with that type of interview, they have their place. My conviction is that if surf mags met their readers' needs they wouldn't be suffering the reader drain they are now. Sure there'd be the commercial pressure from the industry to present the sanitised 'good look'.  But ultimately those advertisers should be advertising WHERE the readers are. The readers would give brands cred for doing so. 

It's tough to be THAT type of interviewer, and again to be really honest, I'm not sure I have the mental fortitude to be constantly THAT guy. To be asking the prickly questions, then fielding and defending your motives, and possibly alienating yourself from your tribe. It is easier to just go surfing. But it's something that's lacking in Surf Media... I hasten to add this is not about sensational tabloid journalism, it's not about only going after the underside, but not sanitised either. Just real, well researched, thoughtful, honest. Respect the readers' intellect to decipher and share the struggle and, hopefully, success of the human spirit. 

The Snapshot Galleria interview I did this week was nothing so dramatic. But knowing all of the above, when the table is turned and the interviewer becomes the interviewee there's a different approach. There's a strong awareness that the questions and answers are not a two way conversation, it's a three way interaction. Questions are an opportunity, a prompt, to share thoughts and information. I'd argue that the best person to interview is someone that's interviewed. I've been interviewed a fair bit now; in photography mags, travel websites, local newspapers and most recently on The Barkers website and mag. I'm a Kiwi, I hate putting my head up, it actually amazes me how engrained this is in us.   

New Zealand Wave Print Sets 

The NZ Wave Print Sets arrived early. All the pre-orders are out already. And the shops are starting to get it out on display. What, you can't find it yet? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

The Big Little Beach Book

Distribution is trucking along for the book. Shops are starting to place re-orders! Can't be bothered finding it??? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

Cambo Life by craig levers

The last few posts have been quite product related huh? Well over the last week the gorgeous Ange and I hit the road in the Cambo. It made no sense, there's too much work to do, the NZ Wave Print Sets arriving, The Big Little Beach Book distribution in full flight. This is not the time to be road tripping. We went anyway. 

Hahei Holiday Park, are you kidding me! How is this for front row seats. Million dollar views for $30 a night. 

Hahei Holiday Park, are you kidding me! How is this for front row seats. Million dollar views for $30 a night. 

At the risk of clearly being repetitive, Ange and I own a Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 ex St Johns Ambulance. It has been converted to a camper already, but over the next few years we are going refine the conversion. It makes no financial sense. It's big, it's heavy on gas, there's an endless number of costly modifications that could be done. Where do you stop, when are you so ridiculously over capitalised? But then you do this. 

Hahei, you beautiful thing

Hahei, you beautiful thing

You wake up absolute beachfront to a scene like this. NZ's campgrounds are under constant threat of "development", especially the beachfront ones like Hahei. Hahei was saved from being carved up a few years ago. The plight of the beautiful grounds made national news, the local council sluggish and reluctant to step up and buy the grounds from the retiring owners. Fortunately the same private owners of the Opoutere campground fronted up- bloody legends. Shame on you Council. Of course my argument is the well trodden theme; that greedily carving up our Kiwi beach side campgrounds for short term profit is not 'development' in any way. It's the opposite, it degrades the beach, it takes the beach away from all of us. 

It's the simple things, the quiet things, free moments

It's the simple things, the quiet things, free moments

We moved on the the Mount. It's kind of the polar opposite of Hahei, it is not quiet, it is humming with humans. But what a success story of the campground. Nestled on the base of Mauao the Holiday Park is bold and refined and yep, you pay a bit more... but check this view...

Hating cambo life right?!

Hating cambo life right?!

There were waves too. To be honest, it wasn't planned, it was just a happy coinciding. But we ended up being at the right place at a good time. 

Since we've been back I posted a couple of shots in Instagram. The question was asked, 'cos I really was struggling, which one should be added to the website? The consensus is this one straight above... so you asked for it, it's done it.... check it out bigger HERE

You can't stay at the Mount, especially at the very base of the the Mount, without the trek up the thing right? We set out 30 minutes before dawn. Sure enough, there are people already running back down the track, then there are those lapping us. It's busy! I'm carry a stripped down camera kit of about 15kgs [which was ridiculously too much- but you never know what you could need] I'm trudging and I'm gasping, but then you get this...

camera porn

camera porn

hmmm good, but here's the call... not as good as this...

hmmm good, but here's the call... not as good as this...

Which was used in Beached As Then and Now and the new Big Little Beach Book

Which was used in Beached As Then and Now and the new Big Little Beach Book

Love our Kiwi coasts! Roll on Labour weekend and the start of summer, roll on the Cambo. 

It's Here

The NZ Wave Print Sets arrived early. All the pre-orders are out already. And the shops are starting to get it out on display. What, you can't find it yet? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

The Big Little Beach Book

Distribution is trucking along for the book...despite the Cambo roady. Shops are starting to get it out on display. Can't be bothered finding it??? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

Dream Gigs by craig levers

Once in a while a sweet dream gig lands in your lap. The type of job you've strived to be in position for your whole career. The type of job that requires super specialised gear and technique. This week's Barkers X Surfline job was exactly that. 

The brief was perfect, shoot Roger Hall and the rest of the Surfline team from the water.  The goal was to get a variety of images, both surfing and others of the new summer range of board-shorts. Simple, show the boardies in their natural environment, being used for surfing. 

I love shooting longboarding, especially from the water. And the chance to hang out with Roger and the rest of the crew. Well, needless to say Barker's Marketing Manager Paul Biddle didn't have a ask twice. 

Paul laying it over on a Surfline 6'0 single fin

Paul laying it over on a Surfline 6'0 single fin

I can't share the the real gold of the shoot with you just yet. Barkers is going to use the A's in their marketing and print. But Roger and I snuck out the evening before for a cheeky warm up session. 

Roger, most certainly in his happy place, 300 metres from his front door

Roger, most certainly in his happy place, 300 metres from his front door

Cross step master, insert bad pun about the long boarding master shaper walking the talk...oh yes, I just did that

Cross step master, insert bad pun about the long boarding master shaper walking the talk...oh yes, I just did that

Cat like and on the prowl?

Cat like and on the prowl?

For the last few years Roger has been developing finless designs, harking back the the Hot Curl concept. This 8'8 is his favourite at the moment, he reckons on the cross step the acceleration is crazy

For the last few years Roger has been developing finless designs, harking back the the Hot Curl concept. This 8'8 is his favourite at the moment, he reckons on the cross step the acceleration is crazy

The Hot Curl seems to be doing the trick

The Hot Curl seems to be doing the trick

Toes over

Toes over

Great way to end any day, and knowing too the next day is going to be just as fun

Great way to end any day, and knowing too the next day is going to be just as fun

Business time on the Barker's set, next morning...happy chappies

Business time on the Barker's set, next morning...happy chappies

In Print

The latest issue of DGZ is out and it's a boomer. It also features this Copious full page using one of the images from last month's epic mission. Like the triangle design? Think it would make for a cool Tee.... well something is a brewing...  


Hoddsy Nails It

Last night was the opening for Richard Hodder's new exhibition 'Four Corners Of Mexico' . The exhibition is on until the end of next week so if you didn't make it along to the Allpress Studio [8 Drake St, Auckland CBD], you've still got time. It's well worth your trouble. 

Not even starting to fill up! 

Not even starting to fill up! 

Surf photogs unite! Bean Bag, Brodie and the host himself Mr Richard Hodder

Surf photogs unite! Bean Bag, Brodie and the host himself Mr Richard Hodder

Just before it got REALLY packed. 

Just before it got REALLY packed. 

The Big Little Beach Book

Distribution is trucking along for the book. All the pre-orders are out [thanks guys for your lovely feedback-stoked!!!] And the shops are starting to get it out on display. What, you can't find it yet? Well the inter web shop is open all day every day HERE

Ramping Up And Slowing Down by craig levers

Don't panic, it's s'posed to look like that

Don't panic, it's s'posed to look like that

The waves have continued to pump out West this last week. It's not only seasonably unusual it's now verging on plain ridiculous to get a run of clean waves like this anytime of the year. In between the rain showers there have been moments of camera time. 

And time slowed down. There's something satisfying in doing the opposite of what you're meant to do. Instead of freezing every droplet of water at 1/1000th of a second, this was about opening the shutter and letting the motion blur at half a second. Finding that line between not blurry enough that it does look like an accidental out of focus image and too blurry there's no detail at all. 

It's arty mate...aaaaarty

It's arty mate...aaaaarty

Here's a canvas commission from last week using the same approach. I'd spent the whole day shooting at 1/1000th so, in a way, this was like rounding the day out. Mix it up, have some fun. 

Click on the image to see it larger

Click on the image to see it larger

if you'd like to see the image bigger just click on it

if you'd like to see the image bigger just click on it

.... and This here above is a commission that's been a few months in the planning. It's part on a new ongoing relationship with Fuji-Xerox New Zealand. Their brief was to start using local imagery on their swatchbooks and sampling. This is the start of that, so far they have chosen 10 PhotoCPL images- STOKED!

Today is the calm before the storm. Thousands of The Big Little Beach Book  have arrived and get delivered to warehousing. Life is about to get ramped up and become all about the tape gun, bubble wrap and courier tickets. See ya on the other side of Christmas! 

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT PHOTOCPL Next week is a good week too! Top bloke and fellow photog Richard Hodder aka In The Drink has his second solo show at the Allpress Gallery in central Auckland. I could bang on about how awesome his first show was and how sick the new Mexican images are... but...just get in a see for yourself... here's the invitation- see ya there! 

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT PHOTOCPL

Next week is a good week too! Top bloke and fellow photog Richard Hodder aka In The Drink has his second solo show at the Allpress Gallery in central Auckland. I could bang on about how awesome his first show was and how sick the new Mexican images are... but...just get in a see for yourself... here's the invitation- see ya there!