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

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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

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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

IT's Beer'n'Pizza Time! by craig levers

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It is very exciting to be a part of an exhibition. All types of exciting. Personally, I'm a prepper. I get excited about making a plan and then getting all the components in place. The event is the fruition of that preparation. I can't lay claim to the prep this round, Greg Straight and Hannah Bancroft are the producers. Then comes the nervous excitement of the night. I like the idea of hosting an event, but truth be told it is pretty nerve racking. I like being behind the camera, behind the scenes, -hopefully getting stuff done. I'm not a front guy.

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] 

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Last year's South Seas launch at the Flagship

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There will be art work from  Reuben James, Greg Straight, Al Wrath, Ant Green and me. It's in a range of sizes and price brackets. The idea is to make the prints accessible to everyone. Here's the big deal; 20% of profits will go to Sustainable Coastlines in support of their valuable work improving the water quality of our loved kiwi coasts.

You get free Sals Pizza, you get free Coronas, free Pheonix sodas, free Yealand's wines. You get to view some beautiful prints. And if and only if you decide there's a piece you really like, you'll be contributing to Sustainable Coastlines. So come along, hang out! 

Check out the Facebook invite HERE for more information 
 

Barkers' X Surfline V2

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One of my favourite gigs is the Barkers' X Surfline shoot. Check out the Barkers' website HERE  for some of the images they have already used from the shoot just a fortnight ago. I love the brief; while it is all about the watershot and the use of the camera in the water-housing, the goal is to highlight the garments. It's a very different mindset and approach from swimming out to capture surfing... of course there's that being done too. Last time the images made got used very nicely in an 8 page feature in Barkers' magazine 1972 which goes out to 60,000, the star shot also got used across the Barkers' stores like this...

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NZ Surf- The Collection Vol 1 

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This week, in fact just yesterday, saw the very last of the book stock leave the building. We have sold through in under a year. If you want one there's only what is in the surf shops now left. If you own one, thank you. Thanks for making the project better than Warren Hawke and I could have hoped. The quick sell through means that we are both amped to make Volume 2. 
 

So, what are you doing on Nov 22nd? Yep, you're having Pizza'n'Beersies on us!  

From The Bookstore

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Speaking of sell outs. 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

Someone Stole My Shaper! by craig levers

 Soph, Hayden and the kids during the pack..and that's not their house in the background

Soph, Hayden and the kids during the pack..and that's not their house in the background

A couple of months ago Hayden Chamberlain asked me what I thought about him moving up to Ruakaka. The first reaction was selfish. You can't do that! Where am I gonna get boards from!? What about the T Double A Surf Team? [We are/ were neighbours in the same Piha Road, which has a large amount of surfing families dotted along it.]

I was there when Hayden's parents dropped him off at the Fresh Squeezed Factory, Shadee Lane, Piha [yes that's a real name] to start his shaping apprenticeship when he was 16. We've been mates since. I've interviewed him and stitched him up with terrible portraits since waaay back. He's part of the Piha fabric. 

Declarations become reasoning, why, why would you leave us? How can you justify this heinous thought? 

'Family bro, both Soph's and my olds are still in Dargaville, and we want the kids to be nearer to their grandparents.' 

We talked it out. The concern of leaving his client base in West Auckland for the more sparsely populated fields of Northland. Of leaving swell rich Westside to swell challenged East. I appreciated that Hayden valued my opinion. But, in my books, Whanau always trumps the pros and cons. I knew he was going even if he and Soph thought they were on the fence. 

Roger Hall Stole My Shaper

 Roger and Hayden in the Surfline Shaper’s Bay, Ruakaka

Roger and Hayden in the Surfline Shaper’s Bay, Ruakaka

Roger; 'Well it's a win, win situation I think. Hayden joins us here at Surfline, it brings us back up to four, which seems to be the best working model for us. Over the last few years it has been difficult to get skilled workers. So Hayden's coming in with his vast set of skills to help build the boards that I do. And he's already pushed ahead and trained up Bryce Barton from Piha to do the glassing.

But of course beyond that Hayden is bringing he whole HC operation north with him. So he'll be doing everything that he was in Auckland, except he'll be doing it here. ' 

A concern could be that the brand HC Surfboards could just get assimilated into Surfline. 

Hayden; 'No, I don't think that will happen. Not at all, if that was a worry I would not have done it to be honest. 'Cos I've spent a lot of years building up my brand and I don't want to get it just pushed to the wayside you know. '

Roger; ' And that's certainly not what I meant either. I am excited about having Hayden in the factory helping with my boards. But in reality that's a bi-product of him being here. As far as the general public are concerned there will be two distinct brands coming out of this factory. 

Hayden being younger and me being ummm err older... He'll be looking to grow his business while I'm wanting to concentrate more on my shaping and spending more time in the shaping bay. Having Hayden here building the boards allows me to do that. '

And what about egos, will there be fights over shaping bay time? 

Roger; 'I'm looking forward to it, of seeing how Hayden does it. I'm sure he'll be interested in seeing how I approach it. And vice versa- I don't think there's any egos involved. I think we're both going to have a good time doing what we are both passionate about. '

Hayden; 'I'm really keen to learn new tricks, 'cos Roger's a wealth of knowledge. I'm a bit of a sponge, and I'm always keen to learn some new stuff. '

Roger; 'We've both evolved quite separately to each other. The types of boards I do and the customers I do them for ...and Hayden's doing some quite different stuff.  And I don't really go the places Hayden goes.'

Hayden; 'Yeah, we've got two totally different markets, which I think is a healthy thing. '  

We talk of leaving that Auckland client base. 

Hayden; 'It was a huge concern. It was the biggest one. But just over the last few weeks as people have found out, it has become clear they are not that fazed about me leaving. That has been encouraging. The performance market is a big market and there are a lot of players in that. I'm actually quite happy to be out of that big frying pan of Auckland and distance myself from that competitiveness. I think the loyal ones will follow me and for those that don't, well, I'll pick up new ones. '

Roger; 'And geographically you haven't moved that far, Auckland's still highly accessable. '

Which raises the fact that Roger and Surfline has always been a very national brand.  He's always had customers in the Far North to strongholds in Otago and Canterbury. 

Roger; 'Well interestingly, when I get out and about, it doesn't seem to matter where ever I go, there'll almost certainly be an HC board there. So your boards are far and wide as well. So that will continue.'

Hayden; 'Yeah and I think that will help me concentrate on being better at marketing. Rather than just worrying about that little nook I had out in West Auckland.'

Roger; 'Yeah the isolation actually works for you if you use it. Like you go 'I need to let people see what I'm doing, so you have to become more active in that.' 

Of course the rumours had already started about HC and Surfline's movements. 

Roger; 'Yeah I think it's fair to assume that there ended up being a bit of disinformation and confusion about what we are doing. But really what we are doing is carrying on as we were, we are just doing it under one roof.  Hayden's not changing anything he's doing except for where he's doing it. And I'm not changing a whole lot a part from the fact that Hayden's now here bolstering the numbers back to that fourth man needed to work the factory.

There were all those rumours that Hayden was taking over the factory and I was retiring. But that's not what is happening.'

Hayden sums it up well. 'The thing is I'm only 90 minutes up the road or a phone call away.' 

I feel better, I've been counselled by the shapers. I order my new summer board, and by doing so get bragging rites on being Hayden’s first order under the new roof. Everything is going to be OK. But as I leave the factory in Ruakaka there is the realisation. While I haven't lost my shaper, I have still lost my neighbours and the T Double A Surf Team is a strong member down.  Damn you Roger and your rational reasonings. 

Check out the HC Website Here 

Want to join the T Double A surf team??? Well check out these stunning images of your new home must have been a pretty damn good photographer that took those huh :)

Hayden and Sophie's TradeMe Listing 

FROM THE GALLERY

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One of my favourite images from this year. I can't recall capturing the spit of the barrel so well before. Check it out and buy it if you like it Here

Boomtown Brats by craig levers

Spring is always a hard time for West Coast surfers. The Equinox of the changing seasons never makes of good winds on our beaches. 

 Decidedly summery...shot on the new geek out Mercury camera with a medium format Leaf digital back

Decidedly summery...shot on the new geek out Mercury camera with a medium format Leaf digital back

We turn into spoilt brats, complaining about the lack of water time, the lack of quality banks. It’s either gloom or boom. We forget how surfed out we were over summer, autumn and winter. This last week has been a stark contrast to that. We've had back to back days of beautiful weather and more than reasonable surf everyday. 

 Taitomo and our beloved Keyhole

Taitomo and our beloved Keyhole

 Chris powering down the line

Chris powering down the line

 Meanwhile there were deceptively nice looking peaks ready to push you to the sea floor

Meanwhile there were deceptively nice looking peaks ready to push you to the sea floor

 So, do you know the guy that does  The Raglan Surf Report ... Luke making ready

So, do you know the guy that does The Raglan Surf Report... Luke making ready

 wave selection on point Luke :)

wave selection on point Luke :)

 Former Senior National Champ Ross Martin

Former Senior National Champ Ross Martin

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 Low tide runners

Low tide runners

 Luke Cederman's power game is always a pleasure to witness

Luke Cederman's power game is always a pleasure to witness

 Jami Parkinson quite rightly having a mental health arvo

Jami Parkinson quite rightly having a mental health arvo

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 Luke and his shadow

Luke and his shadow

 Shay Rainger in the box seat for Luke's spray show

Shay Rainger in the box seat for Luke's spray show

Yep, it has been a wonderful summer tease, bring it on!


From The Book Store

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It has also been a big old week here in CPL Land; The new reprint of The Big Little Beach Book has landed. Just a cheeky 1.8 ton of paper and ink... wanna come help move some boxes?  All Photo CPL Media product is printed with soy based inks [no toxic petros] The printers are FSC, ISO 9001 and 14001 environmental certified. 
 Check them out and buy 
HERE  

Photo CPL IS OLD! by craig levers

It has been a trip this book lark. This is the tenth year of Photo CPL Media being in existence. It started in 2008 to get the PhotoCPL book out. Which means that book is old, in fact this is it's release month, so that actually is a birthday. 

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It has been said before, it was a hail Mary of a project. The goal was to just get it out there, so it was done. If it went down in a ball of flames and there ended up being a garage full of unsold books, so be it. It cost over 30K, self funded, it was a huge gamble at the time. 

The PhotoCPL book did well. It got good reviews and the sales followed. I'm grateful to everyone that helped me and those that stoked out on the book.

It ended up being the launching pad for the 7 titles that have followed. As well as the projects like postcards and print sets. It's kind of gnarly to realise I'm been putting ink on paper for 25 years. You'd think I'd know what I'm doing by now, wish I did!

I'd hope all the books have their merits, but there are personal favourites.  Of course there are parts of each project I'm unhappy with. That seemed like a good idea but didn't translate well. I'll give you an example; the subtitle of PhotoCPL is New Zealand Surfing Photography 1991- 2008. Spot the blunder? By capping the date period i.e. having 2008 on there,  it instantly dated the book. It just should have been  1991- onwards. We even toyed with having an arrow after the 1991 or a fast forward sign.  

I'll let you in on another one; in the back of Beached As Vol 1 there's a photographic notes page. Well, I'd now never ever shoot to the methodology explained in there- it's wrong. As this is typed out the mistakes come flooding back- they haunt. 

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A favourite project is The Big Little Beach Book. The images were shot on film cameras, digital cameras, water-housings and different formats. I got to campervan from Cape Reinga to the Bluff [not in one go]. The mistakes made in Beached As 1 and 2 were addressed, the formula was refined. These are some of my favourite images from The Big Little Beach Book;

 Nins Bin, Kaikoura. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiii with a 10 stop ND filter and grad to create cloud blur

Nins Bin, Kaikoura. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiii with a 10 stop ND filter and grad to create cloud blur

 Punakaiki Rocks, West Coast. Shot on Velvia film with the Fotoman 617 Panoramic camera

Punakaiki Rocks, West Coast. Shot on Velvia film with the Fotoman 617 Panoramic camera

 Matauri Bay split view. Shot using a Canon 5Dmkiv with a fisheye lens in a waterhousing...kind of important for the camera that waterhousing bit

Matauri Bay split view. Shot using a Canon 5Dmkiv with a fisheye lens in a waterhousing...kind of important for the camera that waterhousing bit

 Little Bay Tractors, Coromandel. Shot on Kodak T-max 100 film with the Fuji GSX690 camera. Kiwiana as!

Little Bay Tractors, Coromandel. Shot on Kodak T-max 100 film with the Fuji GSX690 camera. Kiwiana as!

 Waimarama Beach...well motor camp, which has sadly since been closed to the public. Shot on Kodak Extar 100 film with the Fotoman 617 Panoramic camera

Waimarama Beach...well motor camp, which has sadly since been closed to the public. Shot on Kodak Extar 100 film with the Fotoman 617 Panoramic camera

 Whitebait stations at Haast. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiii with a Zeiss 50mm lens

Whitebait stations at Haast. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiii with a Zeiss 50mm lens

 Maybe a surprise choice, but I love the long shadows and that there's so many interactions happening. Mission Bay, Auckland on a typical summer mid week evening. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiv with a 16-35mm L lens.

Maybe a surprise choice, but I love the long shadows and that there's so many interactions happening. Mission Bay, Auckland on a typical summer mid week evening. Shot on a Canon 5Dmkiv with a 16-35mm L lens.

In June The Big Little Beach Book sold out. That is pretty good, sold through in 18 months. The default is still 'Well there's not a pile of cartons sitting in the shed- so that worked!' It was going to be left there. Insert dad joke here- y'know, like the end of that chapter, book closed. 

ANYWAY! The bloody retailers kept ordering the thing. So there was a yeah, nah bro... which quickly got flipped into a 'hold on, people still want this book huh?' 

Next week the reprint of The Big Little Beach Book arrives. It arrives to solid orders. So once again there is a huge amount of gratitude to the support the retailers give and youse fullas who like the stuff made under the Photo CPL Media banner. Thank You, like it says at the start, it has sure been a trip so far. 

From The Gift Shop

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All Photo CPL Media product is printed with soy based inks [no toxic petros] The printers are FSC, ISO 9001 and 14001 environmental certified. And The Big Little Beach Notecards are most certainly a product of that. Instead of doing a few images from the book, there are 20 different images used, and there's a couple of extra envelopes chucked in for good measure.
 Check them out and buy 
HERE  

Dirty Deeds Done by craig levers

I was listening to the Ain't That Swell podcast the other day. It was the one about Surfing's greatest beefs and barnies. It is really good by the way. It got me thinking more nationally about some of the epic beefs and barnies I've been a part of and witness to.  
 
You see kiddies, what you read in the surf media is what you're meant to read and not all that goes on is reported. More often than not there's nothing wrong with the sanitised version.  Some things aren't fit to go in a magazine that is directed at highly impressionable tweens. The distance of time mellows the impact. Here's an example for you;

 Chrissy Malone at Rarawa for the Billabong Challenge late '90's about to take my scalp

Chrissy Malone at Rarawa for the Billabong Challenge late '90's about to take my scalp

Back in the late '90's Billabong NZ's Scott Casey came up with a concept event called the Billabong Challenge. It was a noble idea. In fact it was a bloody cool plan. Billabong NZ, straight after the Nationals, grabbed NZ's top rated surfers for an all expenses paid roady. The roady was premised with the idea that there would be a couple of rounds of heats run and then the winner would walk away with the cash prize. 
 
It was a forward thinking concept to break away from the standard competition format. And Scott readily admits it was based on Billabong's epic Desert Challenges in Western Oz. Remembering this was 20 years ago. 
 
Billabong also assisted members of the surf media to travel with the surfers to document the goings on. I was editing and shooting for the surf mag, so I was there. Some of the other media tag ons were pretty tenuous at best.  One such tag along was an Aussie cameraman who shall remain nameless. No one really knew just how he got on the gravy train, even Scott had no idea. But he seemed harmless enough. 
 
Billabong got everyone up to their Head Office where rental vans were waiting. From there the powers that be revealed the region where the surf would most likely be best for the next three days. We headed to the Far North. Billabong had block booked the Backpackers house in front of the Ahipara Bay Motel [it got demolished long ago for apartments]. 

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As pictured the surfers are from left to right Emerson Tucker, Justin Souter, Ben Kennings, Mark Dovey, Blair Stewart, Andrew Robinson, Jos Kennings, Damon Gunness, Chris Malone and Daniel Kereopa.

Then you had the entourage which was made up of Judges, Billabong staff and that dodgey mix of media types I mentioned earlier. In all there were over 20 of us in the spacious Backpackers house. Everyone had beds, but a couple of the tag alongs were on fold-outs the living room. 
 
The surf didn't quite pan out as Scott had hoped. We were lured by the promise of epic east swell and both Rarawa and Hendo's being on the cook. BUT there were fun waves and there was a job to do.
 
Lion Red was the official beer of everything surfing in NZ then. This meant for anyone in the industry all you had to do was put up your hand and Lion Red would courier out a pallet of red cans.
 
The scene set. A group of twenty young men away from their homes with free accomodation, food and booze. With no early start or much pressure. It was only natural that the handbrake was well and truly off come Saturday night.  We had a bender of stellar proportions. 
 
As the evening progressed the Aussie Cameraman started recounting tales of dirty deeds done to his mates back home. Boldly boasting about his tally of scalps and eyebrows he'd claimed from passed out friends. We've all done it, or worst still, been the victim.
 
It's all a bit vauge.  At some point he started explaining in great detail how you should only ever shave off the inside half of a brow. It's a double banger. First the victim has to deal with the new man-scaping. Then they have to come to grips with the fact they are going to have the shave off the outside half to even it up. It's actually pretty brilliant. 
 
As the night continued the twang of the Aussie's voice faded. Much to everyone's surprise, he'd tucked himself into bed, in the large living room... in the middle of the party. 
 
If it wasn't my idea, I apologise to the ring leader. After such a detailed tirade and highlighting that you should never pass out at a party. Here was our Aussie gatecrasher doing exactly what he boasted not to do. Mark Dovey found a razor blade, Ben Kennings got the shaving foam and I found the Aussie's video camera. Which I think was a masterstroke.  
 
As per the Aussie's description we made our own little documentary on his camera about the art of brow work. To this date I think Mark Dovey has missed his calling as a TV presenter.  
 
Job done, we took off both inside brows.  Lots of Lols and Rofos all around the crowded living room. 
 
I can't recall the Aussie's reaction in the morning, we were in a rush to get up to Rarawa. The swell was good, but the banks weren't great. It was a fun 2-3 foot. There was work to do and someone was going to win some cash and bragging rites. 
 
I swam out with the camera and got nothing, caught in shitty rips and not lining up anyone with the shifting peaks. Luckily I'd shot the shot of Chrissy Malone on the Friday evening straight after the drive up. Blair Stewart won, which was a worry 'cos his Dad Doug was the judge. But in fairness I think Doug was actually being harder on Blair as an over compensation. 
 
There was a bit of controversy over the criteria. Doug, who was NZ's Head Judge at the time, had been very vocal about his dislike of airs. Yes, that is right, in the late '90's the ASP criteria deemed airs non functional manoeuvres! 
 
In a flip, for this event Scott had made it clear innovation was to be rewarded. Blair won by doing some massive fin wafts. The controversy was that some of the other guys didn't believe Doug could actually judge innovation so they stuck to rail game. 
 
The comp was over, it had been a big day in the sun, up the north end of Rarawa Beach. We were assembled back at the car-park by the stream and Ben Kennings was tee'ing off. Someone had shat inside his brand new Oakley shoes. It was disgusting, apart from ruining his new kicks, the rental van had been marinating the stench all arvo. Then Mark Dovey went to put his Dirty Dog Sunnies on, he stopped, sniffed and realised just before putting them on the arms were coated in poo. Mark was beyond livid.  Everyone was in shock... everyone except the Aussie who was rolling around in laughter on the ground. 

No one else... and I mean no one, saw the humour in spreading human defecate over some one's gear. The Aussie's retaliation was akin to answering a firecracker with a neutron bomb. The red mist descended on Mark. The big problem being that no one felt like stopping Mark from thumping the Aussie. 
 
The Aussie tried to justify his actions, it only made things heavier. By this stage Mark was standing over the Aussie who was cowering in the dirt. He tried to stand up and I warned him to stay down. There was no doubt that if he had stood up Mark would have put him back down. It was really heavy. The Aussie tried to apologise, but no one was having a bar of it. Eventually Mark's anger dissipated enough for him walk away. The only thing that saved the Aussie from a beating was that he stayed on the ground.  
  
Now, you can criticise all of us in this little tale for a number of actions. We all could have been more responsible at different junctures. But we didn't, the hand brake was off and we were having a good time...until we weren’t. To this day I have no idea why the Aussie didn’t implicate the person, ie ME, who was filming the whole incident on his camera- the very evidence he used to identify Ben and Mark. And trust me at the time I did a very intensive audit of my own gear. I always felt stink that Ben and Mark got nailed and I escaped the ....ummm.... shit storm.  
 

From The Bookstore

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All Photo CPL Books are printed with soy based inks [no toxic petros] The Printers are FSC, ISO 9001 and 14001 environmental certified. And The South Seas Revised Edition most certainly a product of that. Over 80% of the images are changed from the original edition- it really is a different book. Check it out and buy it HERE  

The New Venture by craig levers

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We've made an ethical T-shirt. Well, that's not entirely accurate, we've made five, and we didn't actually weave the garment or sew the seams. 

'We' is Cale Tolley, the founder of Copious Apparel  and I. We've been good mates for over twenty years and worked on different stuff together over that time, including shoots for Copious. 

The idea of Trophy Tees has been knocked around for a couple of years now. There are other Kiwi souvenir T's out there, some really good ones too. But it was an idea that just didn't go away. So we've finally done it. 

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See what we've done here; Lee Ririnui sporting the Mount Dusk One Tee at the actual spot the image on the Tee was taken 

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Mount Dusk Two Tee

I dunno if the buyers of Trophy Tees will care if the garments are ethical, but we do. The T shirts are made overseas, but the factory used is audited and has WRAP and Oeko-Tex Certification. Ok, fancy sounding - could mean anything right. 

WRAP is the world’s largest independent factory-based social compliance certification programme for the sewn products sector. It's 12 Principles cover: compliance with local laws, prohibition of forced labour, child labour, discrimination, harassment or abuse, compensation and benefits, hours of work, health and safety, freedom of association, environment, customs compliance, security. WRAP provides for at least annual unannounced audits, which include allowance for off-site employee interviews. From this, corrective action plans are put in place as well as follow-up audits to resolve any non-compliance before certification is awarded.

Oeko-Tex, very basically, means the materials used in the garment are non toxic, no dodgey stuff like Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium or nickel are used. Don't have the Oeko-Tex Certification, well, do you really want any of that crap rubbing on you?

Added to these certifications our garment supplier is committed to traceability of the cotton used, which means the cotton ethically farmed. 

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The Mount Tube One Tee  proving to be the most popular one so far

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Mount Tube Two Tee  the whole picture

Fit and Quality. It's all fine and dandy having your social conscience eased, but the garment has to fit well and last. It could have the best graphic in the world on it, but if it fits weird or wears out fast, well, that's just a waste of everyone's time.

Our Tees are a regular fit, crew neck. It's  heavy weight, 200 GSM 100% carded cotton. With neck ribbing [the neck will retain its shape well]  side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems and preshrunk to minimise shrinkage. Both Cale and I know what makes a Tee a favourite is how it feels and fits. 

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The New Zealand Tee in white

This week Trophy Tees first orders were shipped out to the North Beach Nationwide, Backdoor Mount and Papamoa stores. We timed the launch of the Trophy Tee website and social networks to the deliveries... she's been a few big weeks!  
 
I've got some favours to ask; even if you don't want a Trophy Tee yourself, help us get the name out there. LIKE the Trophy Tee page and [ideally] SHARE it on your own home page or even share it with a couple of friends you think may like the Tees. The Facebook Page is HERE 

Please check out the Trophy Tee's website, where of course you can enjoy the convenience of ordering your Tees direct from the very device you're in front of now. 

www.trophytees.co.nz 
 
 

From The Bookstore 

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It's not just the Tees that are ethically minded. All Photo CPL Books are printed with soy based inks [no toxic petros] The Printers are FSC, ISO 9001 and 14001 environmental certified. And The South Seas Revised Edition most certainly a product of that. Over 80% of the images are changed from the original edition- it really is a different book. Check it out and buy it HERE  

Man Down by craig levers

Suicide. 


Quite bizarrely  the New Zealand Press recently went through a cycle of not talking or reporting on Suicides. It is actually an epidemic amongst Kiwi males. The idea about not reporting or tackling the subject publicly was that any talk of suicide highlighted the action and any focus on it would simply draw those inclined to it as a possibility.

Clearly I do not agree with this sentiment. I believe that open, honest discussions help educate and inform. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending it doesn't happen is ridiculous. The dictate of silence didn't reduce the rate of suicide in NZ. The rate has increased. 

As of Friday I've lost 7 friends to suicide [and as I do this audit I realise there's more]. I have not lost 7 mates in car accidents, airplane crashes, Aids, Cancer or Sharks.

I had written a piece about the friend who passed last Friday, I wanted to honour him and I wanted his tragic decision to be a call out to other friends- don't do it. It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But just before pressing the send button I did my dues. I found out that the family have told his young children a different story for the meantime. That has to be respected. 

Almost a month to the date Hannah Norton's open letter to NZ Men was published by the Herald. I implore you to take seven minutes to read it HERE 

If you are thinking even remotely this is an option for you, ring me, lets talk.

For Alf, Troy, Matt B, Matt H, TK, Bob and now Friday's- You were loved. You are fondly remembered forever.    

Flying Kiwis by craig levers

 Ratty and his quiver a few years back... Keyhole Boardriders REPRESENT.

Ratty and his quiver a few years back... Keyhole Boardriders REPRESENT.

It has been a busy old week for New Zealand Surfing on the Internationally.  Reigning World Grand Master Champion Iain 'Ratso' Buchanan has been in the Azore Islands defending his title. And the New Zealand Team has been in Japan competing at the ISA World Surfing Games

 Rat in the Azores. Image care of WSL

Rat in the Azores. Image care of WSL

Ratty didn't do so well in the Round Robin round.  In his first heat he was beaten by Australian Rob Bain. In his second heat Australian Glen Winton got the highest scored wave of the event, a 9.25. Ratty's 7.17 and 6.13 would have seen him win just about any other heat in that round. Without a win Ratty will not proceed to the next rounds. 

 Paige on a tear in Japan. Photo Ben Reed/ISA

Paige on a tear in Japan. Photo Ben Reed/ISA

In Japan the news is similar.  We didn't send our strongest team with Kehu Butler, Rik Christie, Elliot Paerata Reid and Ella Williams all having prior commitments. But there is a shinning glimmer of hope with Paige Hareb dominating the women's division. An in form Paige has cruised into round 3 with the highest women’s heat total of 15.37. Her single wave score of 9 points was the highest of the women’s competition thus far.

Looks like we are in for a few laydays in Japan, but you can check in to the ISA website HERE 

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It's not all doom and gloom on the world scene for our flying Kiwis. Last month Kehu won the World Surf League Oceania Junior QS. This means he'll be representing Oceania at the World Junior Champs early 2019.  EPR is on a bit of a roll in Indonesia, making the finals at both the West Sumbawa WQS [Third Winner according to the winners Cheque :)].  And an ever so close 2nd at the Simeule Pro. 

From The Bookstore 

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All this chat about waves overseas, wha'd'bout some good Kiwi waves! The South Seas Revised Edition is still available. Over 80% of the images are changed from the original edition- it really is a different book. Check it out and buy it HERE  

The Where And The How In South Sumatra by craig levers

I'm back from an excellent and all too brief 14 days in Indonesia. So this week's post is a travelogue that could inspire you to booking that surf trip. It isn't as expensive as you may think. 

 Ujung Bocur at dawn

Ujung Bocur at dawn

There were 5 of us and our surfing experience ranged from only 18 months to 40 years. There are pros and cons in travelling in a group, the obvious pros being costs spread and great times shared.  Out of the 14 days there were 10 days of surfing. 4 days were lost to travelling, because we went to South Sumatra. For me, all up the 14 days only cost $2,700. 

 L to R... yep Me, Barton Strom, The one and only Sam 'Calfy' Ryan, Hayden Strom and Brent Alexander

L to R... yep Me, Barton Strom, The one and only Sam 'Calfy' Ryan, Hayden Strom and Brent Alexander

Here's the breakdown with all prices in New Zealand dollars; 
 
Air New Zealand return economy flights $1214.00. We got a pretty good special, but I had to add another bag for camera gear.  It's an 8 hour flight so we all opted into the 'works' which means a couple of meals. Air NZ now offer direct flights to Bali. In 1991 the same return flight was $900.00 return.
We had a night in Bali before getting our internal flights to Sumatra. We choose to stay close to Denpasar Airport in Uban and in very nice suites, which cost $44 inc breakfast. 
 
The internal flights with Sriwijaya Air were $150.00 return. This was Bali to Jakarta Java, Jakarta to Bandar Lampung Sumatra. Our luggage was checked through from Bali to Bandar Lumpung and we paid an extra $50.00 [10 each] for excess baggage.  The first flight was 1.40 hours, the second flight 40 minutes. 

 Damai's main building/bar/dinning common area

Damai's main building/bar/dinning common area

At Bandar Lampung we were picked up by two vans provided by Damai Bungalows, which is where we stayed for 9 nights. The vans were newish and comfortable, but the drive from Bandar Lampung to Ujung Bocur in the Krui region is 5-6 hours. Without doubt this is the most unpleasant part of the travels. 
 
Damai cost $600.00 for the 9 nights. This included the return transfers, twin shared rooms, three meals a day and surf guide legend Dedi. Damai is owned and run by a classic Novacastrian Aussie ex-pat Jas. It's small, there are 6 simple losemans, the food, staff and service is excellent. Damai is at the top end of Ujung Bocur, near the paddle out keyhole. As you can see from the images the communal area is totally orientated to the view of the Point. 


 pretty shit view aye!

pretty shit view aye!

 Barton on his hog

Barton on his hog

We hired scooters with surfboard racks for 8 days at $6.50 per day. 
 
The only other costs were drinks [tea and coffee is free] . I was going through 2-3 litres of water a day, plus a mixed juice or two per day. So my bar bill came to a staggering $28.00. Hayden was at the other end of the spectrum racking up a $180.00 bar bill.... that's for 8 days!  
 

The Waves

The main reason we opted for Krui is that there are a lot of set ups. We didn't surf every wave there is, and there's a bunch of set ups that work in the rainy season as well. But here's my take of the sets ups we experienced. 
 
Ujung Bocur 



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The left hand point break out in front. It is incredibly consistent. Breaking through all tides and handling most swings of wind. The Point is often compared to Raglan, and I reckon that's fair, sort of a hybrid of Indys and Manu. While it does provide the odd barrelling section, it's more a fast wall that provides lots of sections to hit. It's a long wave that can offer rides well over 200 metres. It is the go to, and most of the accommodation is scattered down the Point so it does get crowded. The key phrase here is INCREDABLY CONSISTENT.  At 6-8 foot the wave tends to push wide of the point. 

 Calfy found his own right at Ujung

Calfy found his own right at Ujung

  Yeah Calfy, who is number 1!


Yeah Calfy, who is number 1!

Way Jambu [Samatran Pipe] 

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Way Jambu is a 20 minute scooter trip to the south. As the name suggests it's not for the timid. On the right direction swell Way Jambu will handle any size thrown at it. Last year Lynden Kennings tackled it at what the locals are now calling 15 foot. At over 8 foot there is a [sort of] roll in take off before the wave hits the Pipe section. It's a heavy, heavy wave with a slabbing barrel.  It breaks from about 3 foot up.

 8 foot Pipe, trust me, it is 8 foot!

8 foot Pipe, trust me, it is 8 foot!

Mandiri Beachies

 Yeah yeah there were waves at Mandiri, but how rad is this old Honda!

Yeah yeah there were waves at Mandiri, but how rad is this old Honda!

Just to the north of Ujung Bocur is a long strip of sandy beach that is very exposed to any swell. When there is 'no swell' or Ujung Bocur is 1-2 foot, then the beachies come alive with options. Earlier this year Elliot Paerata-Reid scored them at 6 foot plus and he rates them as the best beachies in Indo. While we were there the beaches had been nailed by the big Nias swell the month before. The fellas still had three really fun dawnies finding some rights for a change. 
 
The Peak

 Short and sharp- the Peak at optional size

Short and sharp- the Peak at optional size

About 30 minutes north of Ujung Bocur is The Peak. To be honest it's more of a novelty wave than anything. But it can provide a pretty damn good room with a view- it's just a very short stay. It turns into a fat roll in at anything over 5 foot, but at 4 foot there's a great little technical peak to sneak under. To the left of the Peak there is a bend in the reef that often provides a really good but shallow left. 
 
Krui Lefts

 Sorry, I failed on taking a snap of Krui lefts at 1 foot... but this is the main drag of Krui Town

Sorry, I failed on taking a snap of Krui lefts at 1 foot... but this is the main drag of Krui Town

Krui is the main town, which is 40 minutes scooter ride north from Ujung Bocur. Rather disparaging slanged off as Cowards Corner. The left reef in town needs a lot of swell to get in. If Ujung Bocur is 6 foot, it'll probably be 2-3 foot. It's crowded with locals and beginners and because of this very hazardous for your health. 
 
Jimmy's 

 Brent at Jimmy's Right

Brent at Jimmy's Right

 Jimmy's spit

Jimmy's spit

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40 minutes to an hour is about the range you'd want to do on a scooter.  You wanna preserve your energy for tackling waves not dodging Indo lorrys. About 1.40 hours north of Ujung Bocur is Jimmy's Rights and lefts. We opted for the vans which cost us $15 dollars each for the day. Trade winds are cross-shore so it's a 4am start to be there for dawn.

Jimmy's Right is fun at 3-4, and full on from there up. It's a barrel. The take off is steep but very doable.  You backdoor the section that most likely will stay open giving you a clean exist before the wave bends onto near dry reef. In other words, don't think you're gonna get a turn in. Get in, get out. 

 Meanwhile, across the bay... and not Jimmy's Left.

Meanwhile, across the bay... and not Jimmy's Left.

Jimmy's Left

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A very heavy deep water reef. If the rights are 4-5 ft then the lefts are 6-8 ft. The swell comes out of deep water and slabs up onto the reef with Hawaiian/Tahitian thickness. 

 Below sea level and thick

Below sea level and thick

This is the End

Because a new swell was coming, we pushed our flights back to Bali another day. Changing the flights was pretty easy. Back in Bali we had one night in a palace of a place booked via Air B'n'B which was $80 each per night including breakfast. The palace had 5 double bedrooms all with ensuites, 3 kitchens, large gardens and a swimming pool. The main bedroom had an internal pool. Here's the link to it 
 

The Acid Test

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Would I go back to Krui? There is no would in it. I am going back! A part from quality surf, South Sumatra was a wonderful adventure in Indonesian culture. It’s often described as what Bali was like in the 90’s. My first 6 week stay in Bali was in 1991, I would argue that South Sumatra is like what Bali was in the ‘80’s, and all the best possible ways. The locals are wonderfully friendly and helpful. The extra travel and that brutal 5 hour drive help keep Krui somewhat a mission. Here’s to it staying that way.  

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From The Bookstore

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All this chat about waves overseas, wha'd'bout some good Kiwi waves! The South Seas Revised Edition is still available. Over 80% of the images are changed from the original edition- it really is a different book. Check it out and buy it HERE  



















Salamat Pagi From Krui by craig levers

 Sumatran Pipe-shallow and sharp

Sumatran Pipe-shallow and sharp

I'm writing to you from Krui, which is in the south of Sumatra, Indonesia. I'm traveling with 4 other Kiwi surfers; Brent Alexander, Sam 'Calfy' Ryan and the Strom brothers, Barton and Hayden. We're half way through our most excellent adventure.  And it is excellent. 

At this juncture of the adventure there was a hope/expectation that this post would be filled with stunning first hand accounts of surfing prowess. Sadly [or maybe luckily for you] this is not the case. The wave quota, thus far, stands at 5 rides. 5 very medicore rides at that. Just over a month ago I tore my hamstring, and while the recovery had gone well, standing on a wave is too painful. 

This surfing trip has defaulted to a photography trip. To be really honest it is gutting. But what can you do, there's no point in dwelling on what should have been. I'm lucky that I have the cameras to fall back on, a secondary passion. 

So rather than bleat on too much about what's been going on here's a visual account. Next week there'll be a full wrap up of the hows and whys. 

 First evening in Kuta before the transit flights and 5 hour drive to Krui

First evening in Kuta before the transit flights and 5 hour drive to Krui

 Yum, Padang

Yum, Padang

 The two connecting flights went pretty well, the boards arrived in Sumatra at the same time as us

The two connecting flights went pretty well, the boards arrived in Sumatra at the same time as us

 Now for a mellow drive through rain and flooded roads for five hours in 3rd gear 

Now for a mellow drive through rain and flooded roads for five hours in 3rd gear 

 The pay off

The pay off

 Barton firmly focussed on Hayden's next dart

Barton firmly focussed on Hayden's next dart

 When it rains around these parts you'll know it

When it rains around these parts you'll know it

 Early morning reef blurs 

Early morning reef blurs 

 Brent Alexander lining up the section at Pipe 

Brent Alexander lining up the section at Pipe 

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 The Pipe's room with a view 

The Pipe's room with a view 

 The local lads 

The local lads 

 The peak in fine form

The peak in fine form

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 Calfy between sets  

Calfy between sets  

 Hayden in the happy place 

Hayden in the happy place 

 Our guide and local photographer Dedi, check out his instagram   @dedilock

Our guide and local photographer Dedi, check out his instagram @dedilock

 Out in front 

Out in front 

 According to the speedo I'm a pretty slow rider 

According to the speedo I'm a pretty slow rider 

 Fair to say from where we'd all rather be 

Fair to say from where we'd all rather be 

 Pipe doing its thing. Tomorrow the swell jumps 4x in size. Ok, big boy pants on

Pipe doing its thing. Tomorrow the swell jumps 4x in size. Ok, big boy pants on

Big Month by craig levers

Warning; introspective and highly opinionated dribble may follow.



I've been immersed in the surf industry for the last 30 years. This has included working in surf shops and factories, but mainly it has been on the media side of things. Making magazines, editing websites, probably most significantly now making New Zealand surf books for the last 10 years. As a Kiwi surfer there is always an internal conflict, an irony if you like, about being a part of the commercial side of surfing. 

The overwhelming theme on the commercial side of surfing is always to grow the sport. The industry rationale being; if more people are surfing, you have more people to sell your wares to, you make more money, you get to go surfing more. And that's the conflict, as Kiwi surfers we are collectively selfish bastards. We want less surfers in the water so we can each get more waves. 

I've been a part of industry meetings about growing the exposure and popularity of surfing in New Zealand. For a long time the focus was on getting airtime on TV. To be honest, even during those meetings, in part being a stills photographer, a producer of print based media, but probably more importantly a selfish surfer, I felt shitty in those strategy meetings. I never shared the vision that surfing should be as big as rugby. I don't want surfing to be as big as rugby. I love surfing and it's counterculture because it ISN'T rugby. I find it weird that while surfing is proud of it's outsider and staunchly individualistic stance, many within the community crave mainstream amalgamation. 

This is probably a generational thing. While now as an older surfer I celebrate our former bad assery, and being alternative, the generations of surfers after mine don't share that rebellion against the norm. 

 The famous Windensea board riders circa '60s

The famous Windensea board riders circa '60s

To hammer home the point, or maybe over dwell on it. The first wave of modern surfers in the '50's-60's were gnarly. To commit yourself to living a surf lifestyle was to be regarded being a drop out and a loser. Time and Life magazines compared Surfing culture to Hells Angels and Junkies. Surfers celebrated this, Miki Dora famously sported Iron Crosses and Swastikas on his boards- surfers were NOT neo nazis, it was to be shocking. 

Every era of surfers rebel against the previous. The long haired, Morning Of the Earth era was a reaction to the first competition era of surfing. My New Wave/Echo Beach/Punk 80's era was a rebellion against that soul surfer era. The old fossils wore black wetsuits and clear white boards, we embraced short spiked hair, flouro panels and bright sprayed twin fins and thrusters. Surfing was so rebellious, it even rebelled against itself.     

 Just fricken orrrrsum :) 

Just fricken orrrrsum :) 

Surfing does not translate well to mainstream at the best of times anyway. We get pigeonholed as Spicoli like stoners throwing down shakas and speaking a quaint perversion of english. To be fair we don't help ourselves much in this regard. It's ironic that our dialect that is mocked is also stolen so often. 'Stoked' is now mainstream, 'Sick' is now used by non surfers as meaning good.

Over the last few weeks surfing in New Zealand has had a lot of that airtime so craved in the boardroom meetings of the late '90's. 

 When EPR's advert first aired a few weeks back he was doing this

When EPR's advert first aired a few weeks back he was doing this

The Positive one; Piha's very own golden child, well man now, Elliot Paerata-Reid's anti Drink Drive advert aired. The advert also features another Piha surfer Chris Baron. 

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This advert uses our surf culture well to get the message across. It's humorous but somewhat knowledgable e.g; using EPR and Chris, filming around Raglan, giving it a weight of authenticity.

Watch the ad HERE

The Neutral One

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Last week's, or should that be weak's, episode of Jono and Ben featured comedian Chris Parker's regular skit based on the Chris's camp adventures into straight life. The skit featured Luke Cederman which was the good bit. Even though Chris observed as it is offensive to the LGBT community when straight people camp it up, so a non surfer trying act Surfie is offensive... i;e looks stupid. He proceeded down this track. I realise it's comedy, I realise the stereotype exists and hell, nothing should sacred. But the comedian didn't explore the theme, his own skit's premise, it was a shame there wasn't more interaction with Luke. Oh well. 

The Not SOOO Bad

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Now, I'm going on the record here as stating I'm a massive fan of Kehu Butler, the whole Butler Whanau for that matter. I was stoked to see Kehu join the desk on The Project this last Tuesday evening. But THAT BEANIE....bro, Red Bull overload, was it the brand placement needed? The interview got off to a rocky start, but Kehu found his feet in the back half with some quick off the cuff replies. In the end, Kehu came across as the intelligent young athlete he is.  

In Other Media... 

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Speaking of Luke Cederman, his latest Podcast is available now. Funny as, as you'd expect. Thanks to everyone that's given me feedback about The Raglan Surf Pod Cast Ep4, it was super fun doing it.  

You can listen to the new Raglan Surf Report Podcast Ep5  HERE

From The Galleries

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Can you believe this image was made 18 years ago! It's pretty much now the PhotoCPL classic huh. Last week native Piharians the Hattons got this bewty for their new Waterview home. Stoked to help make their new home feel more like home.  

Check Out PIHA BLUE HERE.... if you want to :) 

Next Level Dawnies by craig levers

  Jesse Peters and Brent Alexander on the Dawn Patrol

Jesse Peters and Brent Alexander on the Dawn Patrol

Are you fricken kidding me! Why would any sane person get up at 3.45 am in the middle of winter to be at a beach 3 hours later...for dawn. It's insane, it's crazy, normal people don't do things like this. Surfers use terms like crazy and insane to colourfully describe things that are excellent or very good. I believe this reflects on our collective mindset as surfers. We get excited about sleep deprivation so we can then possibly injure ourselves and certainly induce mid doses of hyperthermia. We're a bit twisted, this is not normal behaviour. It confirms we are out of step with the general populace. 

 Darren Celliers excitedly readying himself for a hypothermic dip

Darren Celliers excitedly readying himself for a hypothermic dip

 Dawn hues and why we do stupid things

Dawn hues and why we do stupid things

 Taylor Hutchison, dementedly joyous for a fellow that left Raglan at 5am

Taylor Hutchison, dementedly joyous for a fellow that left Raglan at 5am

 Jesse and Taylor. Ok, Ok, it does look like a good place to be

Jesse and Taylor. Ok, Ok, it does look like a good place to be

 Just like the Clash song... look to the left

Just like the Clash song... look to the left

 ...then look to the right

...then look to the right

 Jesse drawing first blood on a Burleigh-eske fold

Jesse drawing first blood on a Burleigh-eske fold

 Taylor's first

Taylor's first

 The right place to be

The right place to be

 Muriwai resident Darren found the curl a fair bit yesterday

Muriwai resident Darren found the curl a fair bit yesterday

 Taylor's wave of the day, even builders on the construction site behind the beach downed tools and cheered this one on

Taylor's wave of the day, even builders on the construction site behind the beach downed tools and cheered this one on

 Jesse made a pig of himself

Jesse made a pig of himself

 Happy Jesse

Happy Jesse

 The look of a crazy person

The look of a crazy person

 Surfboard shaper Noe Birdler sniffing out the lefts

Surfboard shaper Noe Birdler sniffing out the lefts

 Me ol' mate Dan Davie joined the frey for a break between sanding boards

Me ol' mate Dan Davie joined the frey for a break between sanding boards

 Good to see Dan on the correct side of the lens for a change

Good to see Dan on the correct side of the lens for a change

Would I get up at 3.45 in the middle of winter to sit in a car for 3 hours, then stand on a beach for 4 hours, only to jump back in the same vehicle for the return trip? Everytime, anytime... well maybe not the day straight after. I'm just as crazy as the rest of us. 


In Other News

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Thanks again to Dave Swan at Smorgasboarder for reviewing The Collection Vol 1 this current issue. Last issue The South Seas Revised Edition was featured. Smorgasboarder is distributed throughout New Zealand and Australia via surf stores. But you can also read it online via the hyperlink above. I know you know what a hyperlink is.

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From The Bookstore  

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Yes indeedy, NZ Surf The Collection Vol 1  IS a limited edition and there are now only 109 left in stock. They'll be gone first round of season change shop orders for sure. Have you got your copy yet, or just have no clue what I'm banging on about? Well click here to get through to the book's web page. 

Drunk Children, stabbings and the lack of mongrelism by craig levers

On Tuesday Luke Cederman and I sat down to do a Raglan Surf Report Podcast. It was super fun, as always Luke and I got yarning and no doubt went off on tangents. Yesterday the Podcast went live and already people are letting me know they think it's pretty funny. So without getting into the soul searching and the internal worrying of having a voice most certainly more suited to writing than being heard on podcasts. Here's the Podcast in Video form ....

Just click on the image above.

Orrrrrrr alternatively if you want to open it in your Podcast app click HERE

From The Bookstore

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Yes indeedy, NZ Surf The Collection Vol 1  IS a limited edition and there is only 190 left in stock. They'll be gone first round of season change shop orders for sure. Have you got your copy yet, or just have no clue what I'm banging on about? Well click here to get through to the book's web page. 

Kehu Wins and Insty Wins by craig levers

Yesterday Was A Big Day

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Our very own Kehu Butler just won the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open 2018 at Lennox Beach. The win moves him up to second in the ratings for the WSL Men's Junior Oceania Qualifying Series... now that there is a convoluted series name. It means he's in the top bracket for the Junior Series that's run in our part of the world. Kehu is now looking likely for a spot to contest the junior world championships. The top four surfers in each of the five regions (Oceania, North America, Africa, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui) qualify for a chance to be named junior world champion early in 2019. 

Here is the Herald report on Kehu's Win. 

Of course this is the bit where Wazza Hawke and I get to say 'Told Ya So!' 

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We featured Kehu on the opening spread of NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 1's chapter Coming Through- the next generation. 

A part from Kehu's inherent talent, and that is quite literal, the rad thing about him is his whanau support. His Dad Khan and Mum Donna have put awesome systems in place. 

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Khan, most definitely leading by example. 

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Kehu quite a few swells ago at his local, well in the shade

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Another of The Collection Vol 1 spreads featuring Kehu

Earlier this month Kehu was also selected as part of the 2018 NZ Team for the World Surfing Games in Japan this September. In my opinion, it is the strongest team we've ever sent... well selected...they haven't been sent yet. It's the first time in a LONG time our top international surfers have been available for selection. It's all part of the build up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Of course this does mean, if we're sending our absolute best, so is every other surfing nation. It's gonna be fun to watch come September. 

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Want to know more about the team? Well here's the SNZ Page all about it  

Before Kehu Won yesterday I had a plan to share my top 5 'not first person' Instagram Accounts.

What I mean by this is accounts that aren't set up as personal ones, or like mine more intended to show the images being made. I've gone from being a massive fan of Instagram to being quite disheartened about it. I started in 2012 on the app and back then I loved how it connected me to other Film shooting photographers around the world, I loved that I could follow photographers I've admired for decades, that they were still current and posting. But Insty has come a long way since those early days. I think the Facebook buy out was the start of the rot, and then successive roll out of algorithm changes that mean you no longer see everyone's posts, and now only the most popular posts. A lot of the film photographers I started following and connecting with have left the app. I'm staying, but now I see it more as a entertaining distraction. And with that in mind, here's my current top 5 accounts...

1. Surf Core 2001

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The absolute best photo captions you will EVER read fullstop  here's an example;

surfcore2001Spring 2001: 14 days of Nor-East winds. Southsides banks are dogshit. Waters fucken freezing, winds fucken hot. Turgid slop. Old boys do endless mainies of the esplanade, hunting the mirage; the bank the next bank up. VL commies let out disgruntled groans as they fishtail out of the carpark. The colony of groms that inhabit the Surf Club shorey have all been lacerated by the bluebottles. The east coast is blanketed by these stingy little cunce. Weeping sores drenched in Bi-Lo vinegar. Everyone’s having a shit time. Bushfire and pub-brawl dials are both on “Extreme”. I’m on the tin roof of a Queenslander. I clean out the gutters for pocket money. Rotting leaf matter removal, one handful at a time. I put a Sunk Loto CD in my DiscMan and get to work. My Eggy Step-Dad is up there too. High Pressure gurney, trying to help me. His shit aim accidentally wets a territorial Magpie. Game on. She swoops. She barbs him. He trips. Gurney slides off the apex of the roof and sideswipes me. I fall past the verandah, fall 2 storeys onto pavement. Black. Foggy. I see an apparition. Visions of TC knifing under the lip during the 97 G-land Pro. The words “ZAAHHH” appear in the haze. Day-glo patterns. plumes of spray. TC speaks to me “Come back, core disciple, you must spread the word’. Monasterial chanting. the Surfers of Fortune symbol. Cryptic! Suddenly I come back. White light. The paramedic holds me down “don’t move your neck boy”. Im on a stretcher “lucky you had the Gath on…coulda died”. Ill never forget that spiritual apparition…heres @thomasvictorcarroll, doing some high pressure gutter maintenance of his own.

-gold. 

2. The History Of Punk
 

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Some of the most random and fascinating images drawn from archives all around the globe with great snippets of Punk history. Love IT! 

3. Kook Of The Day 

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Such a good waster of time! Feeling blue? Need a bit of a self esteem boost at the expense of others? - Well this account is for you! 

4. Kook Slams  

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1.1 million of us can't be wrong can we? Much in the same vein as Kook Of The Day, everyone loves a blooper right! 

5. Aperture Foundation 

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Awesome inspiring work from the world's leading photographers. Aperture Foundation is a great portal to finding great photographers and beautiful work. 

From The Bookstore

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Yes indeedy, the aforementioned NZ Surf The Collection Vol 1  limited edition and there is only 190 left in stock. They'll be gone first round of season change shop orders for sure. Have you got your copy yet, or just have no clue what I'm banging on about? Well click here to get through to the book's web page. 

Camplyfe Over The Ditch by craig levers

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The gorgeous Ange and I love our Chevy. We've owned the big beast for a couple of years now and it hasn't missed a beat. We've over capitalised on it for sure, but we were always going to. Sometimes it is nice just to do the things that make something better and fun. Not be totally focused the economic return.  It's been a passion project for sure, and we're proud of where it is now compared to where it started. 

There's always the next project, and we're thinking about down scaling a tad. We're thinking Troopy. Sort of like this....

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It's a big deal. As the opening line reads; we really do love the Chevy. So this week we went on a test. You can't rent Troopy's in NZ anymore... bummer, we'll just have to go to Queensland for a quick bit of research! 

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We hired this for 5 days, knowing that Apollo sell their ex-rentals and in fact have a couple of these for sale now. 

So before I get into the good stuff I am going to bag Apollo here, because we are dismayed at their service. The front house rental staff- awesome, super helpful and nice, but that's where it stops. In the future I will use any other rental company before using Apollo again. 

A few years ago my good mate Steve Fortune was looking to buy one of their ex-rentals too. Steve saw the model on-line he liked, rang Apollo sales to confirm the vehicle was on site at their Brisbane yard. Sweet, he flew over. Not sweet, the vehicle wasn't there when he arrived, no one knew what he was talking about. He was, quite rightly, furious. 

Knowing Steve's misadventure, both Ange and I have been talking to the Apollo sales department. We are [were] dead serious buyers. The phone calls and emails are nothing short of rad. No care, very little desire to be helpful or offer solutions. OK, if we want this, the message is, we're going to have to do the work. The Apollo sales team are there to bank the cheque and hand over the keys. 

So we hire the Troopy camper as the final test run before pressing BUY NOW. Because it's peak season we pay the premium rate. On pick up we're advised that there is a $75 cleaning fee if the vehicle is not returned in exactly the same state it is. Have you ever had to valet a rental before returning it? Insurance; we payed the extra excess reduction, but Apollo have an extra extra. Insurance doesn't cover above the windscreen or the undercarriage, that's extra- extra for that. We're advised we have to buy toll road cover- another $75.00. We pay extra for deck chairs and an outside table- that's alright, most rental co's have add ons like that. But driving out of the rental office, we were not feeling good. We've hired campers in Oz before, we've both hired cars all around the world. I used to work for Avis. This was not usual. No maps, no camper manual and no mallet for the awning pegs. Lucky we know our way around campers. 

We talked to a couple of other Apollo renters on our travels. They had similar experiences and stories from other renters. Gear missing, systems failing, dirty vehicles on pick up. The vibe was the Apollo company was not helpful. 

OK- bleet over. The point is, I would encourage you to book a camper/motorhome with any other company over Apollo. 

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The good stuff. Aussie fricken rules for campgrounds! There are a lot of council owned and run campgrounds in central and beachside locations. More often than not premium real estate. The Fraser Coast is no exception with three well maintained beachside motorcamps in Hervey Bay. We wanted to try somewhere new and test out living in the Troopy the way we do the Chevy. 

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Hervey Bay's iconic Urangan Pier... 868 metres long.

The Fraser Coast is the doorstep to the Great Barrier Reef.  It's also Australia's self proclaimed fishing capital. There is no surf.  But there's plenty of boat charters offering fishing, whale and dolphin watching. There's also the chance to snorkel with dugongs and turtles. With limited time, we opted for the latter option and did a half day trip with Hervey Eco-Marine Tours  . It was excellent. The wind skunked us for a decent snorkel/water time.

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But the glass bottom boat is great and the staff were really personable. Part of Eco-Marine's gig is employing the local Butchulla tribe to share culture and insight into the area. Local tribesman Joe was bloody hilarious with his terrible dad jokes but also a wealth of indigenous knowledge.

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To be honest I kind of rail against touristy stuff.  I have to admit the boat trip with Eco-Marine was really fun and great value for money at $105.00 per adult. Basic morning tea, light lunch and all the snorkeling gear included. 

Food; we ate so much fricken seafood. So many prawns, Hervey Bay Scollops, Calamari, Morton Bay Bugs. The options for dinning in Hervey Bay are excellent. We even had great Baramundi and chips from the local dairy on PT Vernon.  

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The Troopy; well, you already know we won't be buying an ex-rental from Apollo huh! First impressions; this is small. The design of Apollo's Trailfinder didn't work for us at all. Access to the two biggest storage compartments is hard. You can't recline on the bench seats at all, your head hits the roof seam where Apollo have cut the poptop cavity. Either the benches need to be lower, or a wider cavity cut. It made us both appreciate just how much room and storage we have in the Chevy. If we do sell the Chevy, fitting out a Troopy is going to be a real challenge. Stay posted, there are plans a foot!  

From The Galleries

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If you blow up this pano to say... 1200mm wide you can see the old Hiace 4x4 camper van perched up at Supers. Epic day of swell. Shot on the Fotoman 617 camera. Check it out HERE

On Yer Bike Mate! by craig levers

The idea of going for a long walk does not appeal at all. Hell, the idea of a short stroll kind of shits me. I'm not a tramper. I wish I was. It would be good for my career. I love landscape photography, love doing it. But there's the disjoint; just fly me in already. Save the energy for shooting and surfing. The thought of lugging in 20kgs of camera gear is intimidating. So I've done this.... 

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I've been the very proud owner of this electric fat bike for about 5 months. My mate Neil Bridgens made it for me. He's rad. He's passionate about e-bikes. He's been tinkering with them for the last five or so years. The bike is a KHS 4000  with an EM3 electric kit. It's so much fricken fun! The plan with having the bike is to access places with a decent amount of photo gear. For scouting out spots. But what I'm loving is the moments of simply stoking out on where I've ended up. 

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This week's mini mission was epic. It's kind of the local, the backyard. It's the playground looked over every time I wander out on to the deck.  There's a huge amount of appreciation that this is where home is. Having the bike has intensified that immeasurably. There's been a few scouting missions done, but this time was the real deal with a fair amount of kit in the backpack.

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Tunnel Point, part of the Sand fly rail line that transported Kauri logs from Karekare down to the mouth of the Manukau harbour. It's now a DOC camping ground, it's pretty cool. 

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Parahaha... so much more exploration to be done...

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These bivvys fascinate. They are a bit Blair-witchy  so I wanted to shoot them in a way that conveyed that. I reckon I'll give it another crack though. 

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.... see, creeepy....

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So many elements and different things to capture in a single stretch of coast. It is fuelling. I don't think this stretch is unique in its uniqueness.  It's more, for me, an affirmation that New Zealand's coasts are filled with infinite delights and stoke.  

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The simple things 

From The Bookstore

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You can check out more NZ beaches HERE

Up With The Sparrows by craig levers

I used to hate dawnies, and I'm gonna dob me ol' mate Ste'en Webster in for this aversion to the early. Ste'en's idea of a dawn patrol was never to get up at dawn. It was to leave Ponsonby at 4am to be grovelling over the low tide rocks at Raglan pre-dawn [mid winter]. Chugging down through the Waikato in the dark and fog. In his oldies' ancient green Kombi with the shittiest heater ever. The drive was harrowing. The rock crawl pre dawn was traumatic. And then as a 15 year old grom to be faced with 6 foot walls of white wash rolling through at Outsides just as you can start to see... well the whole thing was a f@cking ordeal. 

 Tim and Ste'en Webster and yep a crusty lil punker Jan 1983, in front of the Kombi in Trinity St. Photo Lois Webster

Tim and Ste'en Webster and yep a crusty lil punker Jan 1983, in front of the Kombi in Trinity St. Photo Lois Webster

The thing is Ste'en would ring up 'Wanna do a Dawn Patrol to [insert location]' and I'd always go 'YES!'. What are you going to do, miss out? No way commander- shot gun! These drives also led to a deep loathing of Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Rush... but that's another story. 

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This morning pre dawn

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5 minutes later... 

Opting to be a chaser and catcher of light, i.e; a photographer. If you don't deal with the early, you're kind of screwed. I've learnt to deal. I'm not going to write it's 'now my time of the day', or, 'there's nothing better than watching the sun and light play at dawn.' 'Cos there is something better- a nice warm bed. 

This morning was fun though. Being in mission mode is fun. Calculating the variables, going for it. This morning's dawn was hardly a trial, no four hour dive, just a simple 45 minute stab over the Waitak's. The plan for a while has been to get this pano, waiting for the right amount of fog, sun track and even tide. Lucky? Sort of, it was more calculated than just dumb luck.

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5 more minutes...

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and what's going on behind the camera...

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...which means any minute. Shoot over! 

Yeah, I hate to admit it, but Ste'en's training and ethic has stuck. Thanks old boy! 

From The Galleries

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And just a mere 30 years after the first image in this post was taken, this one was. That's quite a lateral leap aye? This Pano of a deserted shack on Amboy Road in the Mojave Desert won an Epson International Pano Award in 2013. It is hands down a favourite for me. It's all about the composition of those power poles. Check it out bigger HERE

The Stamp Of Approval by craig levers

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You may remember last year Warren Hawke, Juan Milak, Silas Hansen, Daisy Day and I scored a bit of a coup. NZ Post did a collection of Surf Break stamps. The project included a First Day cover and Presentation Pack. I was contracted to do all the writing and the background photographs were mine too. I got the first stamp, the $1.00 one. As above.

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Me ol' Mate Cale Tolley on the cover of the Presentation Pack that was in Post Shops nationwide for most of last year

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It's the first time our surf breaks, or I believe surfing, have been acknowledged at this level. Everyone involved walked away pretty stoked, and quite frankly honoured.  The Surf Breaks Stamp Project grew. NZ Post liked it enough to include it in the book they produce annually called New Zealand Stories In Stamps.

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A copy of the book arrived in the post yesterday

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Scotty Bell featuring on the opening spread- Photo Silas Hansen 

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I was contracted to write an extended piece for the book about our Surf Breaks. With NZ Post's approval, I adapted part of what I wrote for the first chapter of  The South Seas Book

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The images NZ Post used in the layout were also referenced from The South Seas Book. The reason NZ Post decided to try the Surf Breaks project was so simple, one of those random connections. The head designer's husband is a keen surfer and he had a copy of The South Seas on their coffee table. She saw how much he poured over the pages, so identified the audience. You just never know where the books will end up huh?!

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Check out New Zealand Stories In Stamps HERE 

From The Bookstore

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Of course you could buy NZ Post's book that costs $130.00, it is a beautifully presented 80 page book with all the stamps of each story included. Orrrrrr you could buy the South Seas for $79.00 that is wall to wall NZ surfing and 224 pages. Just saying'! 
Check out the South Seas HERE  

Could Have, Should Have- Didn't by craig levers

It Has Been Pumping


I often get asked how do I decide whether to go surfing or take photos. Well, after 30 years of struggling with it, I can firmly reply with confidence...I don't f&cking know. You just have to accept that which ever way you go will probably be wrong. Not being so cheeky about it, it's always been about perpetuating a surfing lifestyle. The reason for shooting is to be able to go surfing. Over the last bout of offshores out west I chose surfing over shooting. 

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Gary Bowers aka PHLEX Photography  however, stayed strong in his commitment to the craft. Here's his patented angle of the Bar with Napes nicely placed.

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Well I wasn't sure who this guy is, but then through the power of the inter web, Pando went- hey that's me!  PHLEX nailed the moment! 

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Kye Bedford in the driver's seat. Photo PHLEX

Check out Gary's Facebook page HERE and follow him on Instagram HERE . And thanks Dave for bailing me out of Blog bog. 


Last Week's E-Bomb was the most read one to date. 



In keeping with that retro theme I've dug up a bunch more from the archives. It has been cold, even Phlex's images above look cold. So the theme around this retro bunch is escapes to warmer climates.

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Scar Reef 2000. The grommet boat trip. On deck From left to right you have Leigh Hawker, Bobby Hansen's back, Dan Scott, Matt Scorringe,  Dan Birch, Jay Quinn and Ainsley Guness.

We scored seriously good waves on this boat charter, Scars was good, Super Suck was exceptional. The groms definitely had their boundaries pushed on this charter. But I also let them know that they weren't expected to charge anything they didn't want to. It's a tough line for a grom to navigate I reckon. The pressure of having a magazine staff photog onboard, peer pressure... I always tired to convey that there would be no judgement. That surf trips should be FUN and my job was to reflect how much fun was being had.

I still think it's important for surf media [and the surf industry in general] not to loose sight of what the reader wants to read and see. I think it's relatable stories and adventures, spliced with information of how that could be your adventure too. 

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2002 Jordan Barley at Speedies, G-Land.... speaking of groms pushing their boundaries. Jordan pushed himself hard on this trip to the jungle, it was his first time in Indo and he was travelling somewhat solo, he hit me up to see what I was doing.  He was nervous about taking on G-land but I told him I'd look after him. I was going with the Whanga Mafia, Chris Speedy, Josh Kennings and Troy Reilly, Rueben Noble joined us as well so we had a strong Kiwi crew for Java.

Pre-organised camera boats fell through [as was the norm in Java] water-housings were broken, but somewhere in the mess of it all there was good work done. And then the subsequent issue of the magazine's images were mis-scanned and the whole issue looked all over contrasty and gritty. It was heartbreaking as a photog to do the hard yards and then your results appear sub par.

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Welcome to the Jungle Jordo! From left to right you have Chris Speedy working on his board, Jos in the stairwell, Troy about to bb gun me, Rueben whooping up Jordan at Backgammon.  

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Rueben at Bingin 2002 a few days before we went to G-Land ...and the water housing wasn't broken. 

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While I love Indo, there's definitely more of a connection to the South Pacific. This trip in 2001 was one of the best I've been on. Left to right you have Bobby Hansen, not sure who's sitting next to Bobby, Daniel Lovell behind him, a random Swedish backpacker one, Andrew Robinson, down in the centre is the host with the most BIG Dave, behind him is his wife Vena with Felix Dickson, Motu Mataa and random Swede II. We scored seriously good waves everyday. We had the best routine down, dawn shoot, breakfast, another surf search, possible shoot, arvo siesta, swim, evening bender. Repeat for 10 blissful days. 

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Motz laying it over 16 years ago, timeless style. 

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On the other hand, the Pacific is also been where my worst surf trips have occurred. I've learnt to accept that Fiji is not for me. I've been beaten up on the Coral coast, stranded in Kandavu and skunked at Frigates. In fact on each of my two last trips, close friends have passed away back home. It's a horrible thing being in another country working when something bad has happened at home. I don't want more mates to die, so I don't go to Fiji. 

That said there were a lot of laughs on these disaster tours. Around the Kava bowl in 2001 is my old and dangerous Partner in Crime Steven Luff, Mikey Phillips and Stu. It's at the now defunct Frigates camp, actually we had all our cash stolen from that camp while were were out in the boat. The surf sucked that trip. 

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To make amends, the next year Mikey Phillips, Nick Tansely, Tony Schaffer and I went up again, this time to score Kandavu. It was even worse. Got this shot of Mikey at 1-2 foot Wilkes though!

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Tonga is regarded as super fickle. But I've always had good luck there. This is Maz the year he qualified for the World Tour, 2001. It was a great trip staying at Ha'atafu with the Burling family, as always looking after us. It was a big trip Maz Quinn, Marc Morre, Motu Mataa, Jordan Barley, Eddie Tongalaui, Nick Macrae, Matt McNeil plus a couple of others I just can't recall- sorry fellas. 

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Maz 2002 at Burleigh Beach Towers, above the venue of his first World Tour Event. He made the 1/4s, his highest placing that year. I always remind him it was because I was there, it is how it works. Rik, Paige, Billy, just saying guys, just saying. 

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Speaking of OZ. In 2003 Luke Harwood spearheaded a tradition that would last for the following 5 years until I left the magazine. The Annual Rusty roady on the Eastcoast of Aussie. Without exception we scored good waves every trip. Luke and Justin Souter were the lynch pins of these tours. They both did an amazing job of making the trips easy for me, they made them fun. The fun happened after the job was done and we knew we had good images in the can. We'd alternate years in between flying into Sydney and driving north, or flying into Coolangatta and heading south. There are just so many uncrowded options once you get away from the big population bases. 

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Justin and Luke of the first Rusty tour... ohh this motorhome actually caught on fire! A metal egg holder shorted out the junction box. It was heavy! 

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Souty, shadow play on point... you can't stop looking at it now I've mentioned it aye. 

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Jos Kennings, Tahiti In 2003. Budgets for photo trips really started to come into play around this time. Surf trips changed, not better, not worse, just different. Previous to this surf trips where kind of cobbled together with whoever could go, they'd largely be the surfer self funding their own trip and working in with me where'd we go. In 2002-3 the brands now had the budget to send an entire team away on the photoshoot. 

My publisher still paid my costs and wage, in part in order for there to be a distinction and hopefully make it clear we had editorial control. I don't think it really translated too well. Everyone on these trips had fun and there was still an element of challenge and exploration. But there was a shift in expectations from the sponsor/brand. For a magazine and a photographer it's a slippery side. The surfers now were on the company's ticket, so they were there to work it, the photojournalistic reportage of a surf trip like that is different. I think the best editorial comes from trips where the participants are almost un-expected parings.  

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Blair Stewart same session, same roll of film. 

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Sam Willis and Jos at the end of the road, Tahiti 2003

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Ben Kennings, Teahupoo 2004 top and bottom

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Regardless of those nuances, with winter's firm embrace, just where would you rather be? yep in that boat with BK I reckon too! 

From The Bookstore 

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Ohhh, feeling all nostalgic and yearning for yesteryears now? Well have I got the book for you! There are still a couple of boxes- and I do mean only a few- of PhotoCPL- New Zealand Surfing Photography 1991-2008 left. Get retro! Get PhotoCPL! Check it out HERE