3 Cool Things...and more by craig levers

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

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Check out  the video HERE 


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


And Deeeeeen

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

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U16 little legend Liam Haze rocking

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U16 winner Rico Henare 

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

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Squeak McKenzie on his way to 3rd in the Open 

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

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

Wellington's Chris Wood won.

Wellington's Chris Wood won.

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

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

Scott Woolston on his way to 2nd in the Open

Scott Woolston on his way to 2nd in the Open

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

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

Aaaaand Deeeennnnn

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

From The Galleries

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



Consistently Inconsistent by craig levers

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

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

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

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

IN THE MEANTIME

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Matauri Bay Crystal on canvas at 1200mm wide 

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

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

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

From The Book Store

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

South Bay Pumps by craig levers

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

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

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

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

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

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

...and that he most certainly did

...and that he most certainly did

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

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

Bren-dizzle locked and loaded

Bren-dizzle locked and loaded

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Brown Haysom on a rare wall

Nick Brown Haysom on a rare wall

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

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

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

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

Raglan native Ollie Codington snuck out after work and was frothing

Raglan native Ollie Codington snuck out after work and was frothing

Ollie Cods, no time for a wetsuit

Ollie Cods, no time for a wetsuit

Aramis Goodwin stalling the crap out of his foamy

Aramis Goodwin stalling the crap out of his foamy

Dune finally succumbed to the temptation of a few lefts

Dune finally succumbed to the temptation of a few lefts

And Deeen.....

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

From Galleries  

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

Te Bar by craig levers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brent Alexander finding a Bar pocket to smash

Brent Alexander finding a Bar pocket to smash

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

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

Bourne clearly in a state of dehydration and loosing his mind

Bourne clearly in a state of dehydration and loosing his mind

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

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

Luke higher than the over inflated Piha property prices

Luke higher than the over inflated Piha property prices

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

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

Inner Bar detail

Inner Bar detail

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

What are you doing this weekend???

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

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

And Denn...

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

 And Dennn......

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

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

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

From The Galleries

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

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

Groms, Controversies and Date Nights by craig levers

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

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

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Bill making buckets

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

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

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

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

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Hectic paddle outs at Indies and good catch ups with mates

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


Just Yesterday The NZ Surf Journal released their Top Ten

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

Check it out, it's a great read HERE

And Dennn......

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

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

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

From The Galleries  

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

Hanging Out With Paige by craig levers

New Plymouth from Paritutu

New Plymouth from Paritutu

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

Hi Paige!

Hi Paige!

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

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Power to burn at Rocky Lefts

Power to burn at Rocky Lefts

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

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

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

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

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Speed slides

Speed slides

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Poise and precision pretty much sums up Paige's act

Poise and precision pretty much sums up Paige's act

Air B'n'B opportunity???

Air B'n'B opportunity???

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

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

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

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

Same technique to make the ocean look milky and smooth

Same technique to make the ocean look milky and smooth

Taranaki's Surf Highway summed up perfectly by Liquid Murals

Taranaki's Surf Highway summed up perfectly by Liquid Murals

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

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

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

From The Bookstore  

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

Boat Lyfe by craig levers

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

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

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Boat Lyfe hard out

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Will Bailey catching dinner 

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Horrible place to be

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Terrible 

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

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Kent's sea gull impersonation

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Ange emerging from the depths

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Kent the dugong

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

From The Book Store

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

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Surf Guiding by craig levers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

From The Bookstore  

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

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

The Naki Nats 

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

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

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

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


Want to Own

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

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

You can get yours HERE

From The Bookstore

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

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

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

Matt Newdick slicing past at the Logger Heads Late January 2018

Matt Newdick slicing past at the Logger Heads Late January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sundowners everyday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Sumatra

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I like rain

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We got great waves... 

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Like... real good! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From The Bookstore  

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

The New Kid On The Block by craig levers

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

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

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

Nationally we have had nothing for a very long time. 

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

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

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

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

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

 CHECK OUT NZ SURF JOURNAL HERE
 
 

From The Bookstore

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

The Storm Trooper by craig levers

#Camplyfe #Troopy #Vanlife 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

From The Bookstore  

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

Auckland; City Of Surf by craig levers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From The Book Store

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

Off Shores by craig levers

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

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

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

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

Napes finding his own lines as per

Napes finding his own lines as per

The alluring corner pocket

The alluring corner pocket

Greedy's Lefts minus the man himself

Greedy's Lefts minus the man himself

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

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

When the sets roll in, don't stand there

When the sets roll in, don't stand there

The beast starting to show

The beast starting to show

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

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

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

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

Yeah, don't be there

Yeah, don't be there

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

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

See, definitely only a foot

See, definitely only a foot

Ok, maybe head height! #bestdadjokeEVER

Ok, maybe head height! #bestdadjokeEVER

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

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

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

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

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

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

moments of glory

moments of glory

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

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

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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