The Future Is Bright / by craig levers

The Future Is Very Bright 


Tom Norton pre start chill

I still love shooting surfing contests. Even after 25 years of standing behind the tripod getting marinated in the sun for hours on end, maybe it's a warped muscle memory, a familiarity, nostalgia - I dunno. But I love getting the call up to be the shooter. 


Tom and Caleb Cutmore...positioning for the peak

I was the shooter last weekend for final event of the 2018 Billabong Grom Series held here at Piha. It's a rad way to keep in touch with the who's coming through the ranks. In the front row observing every piece of body language with a critical eye, looking for good shots. 


Jared Gebert racking points

Back in the day it was a no-no to shoot water photos during a heat. While the ASP [now WSL] rule book stated two water photographers using a longer focal length lens than 80mm were allowed to be in the water. It wasn't cool to do it. I remember vividly a weekend surf photographer swimming out at Rocky Lefts during a heat in 1994, Nick Ngu Chun was competing, he went up for a good forehand reo and connected with the photographer's water housing. He knocked out a fin. Nick didn't have time to come in and get another board so he tried the surf the heat without the fin- he went from winning the heat to not making it through. For me this was a decisive event; I'd never be the photographer that impinged a surfer's scoring potential. I would not be THAT guy.


Caleb Cutmore on his way to U18 victory  

But things change, after 20 years of refusing to do it, I've got a set up that allows me to be in the water during a heat, but far enough away to keep out of the surfers' way. Even so I worry that some of the competitors get distracted by a dugong lookalike pointing a yellow water-housing at them from the shoulder. 


Luke Griffin; eyes on the prize- a seasoned competitor at 16




Nothing worse than seeing another competitor get a good turn in during your heat. Mica Black in exactly that predicament with Tom Norton sending spray

I'm happy to report I did not get in the way last weekend. And even happier to confirm the future NZ Surfing is looking pretty damn bright. There's a whole bunch of U18 and U16 competitors that are fighting to get through heats. The class of 2018 surf real well- and there's a lot of them.


Local Lad Shane Kraus giving Caleb a run for his money in the U18's  

Here are the results and press release for the Billabong Grom Series Final

And you can view more of the images I got from the event of Surfing NZ's Facebook Gallery HERE

But Yesterday Was Different ... 

Yesterday was all about free surfing with the fellas in fun waves, perfect sized west coast beachie peaks. 


Arty mate, it's fricken arty bro! 


Co creator of DZG magazine Skip James was in town to sample some westside curlers 


Skip high lining on his 4'10" twin


That mini twin goes pretty sweet backhand too


Piha local Mark Hansen and his son Moana caught all the bombs


hmmm KB... not such great board placement on this one


ahhh but he got his fair share of nuggets 


Artist Greg Straight slipping under the lip and clearly very worried about his trajectory with the up coming speed hump [that would be me!] 


From The Galleries


In 2013 this pano of Piha won an International Epson Pano Award. Seems just like last winter I was timing the fronts and sitting out rain squalls to get it. Love Piha's extremes! Click HERE to view the pano larger