Camplyfe Over The Ditch by craig levers


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....


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! 


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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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.  


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


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.... 


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. 


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.


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. 


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


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. 


.... see, creeepy....


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.  


The simple things 

From The Bookstore


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. 


This morning pre dawn


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.


5 more minutes...


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


...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


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


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.


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


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.


A copy of the book arrived in the post yesterday


Scotty Bell featuring on the opening spread- Photo Silas Hansen 


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


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?!


Check out New Zealand Stories In Stamps HERE 

From The Bookstore


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. 


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.


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! 


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.


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.


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.  


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


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. 


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. 


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!


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. 


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. 


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. 


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! 


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


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.  


Blair Stewart same session, same roll of film. 


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

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Ben Kennings, Teahupoo 2004 top and bottom


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 


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

Factory Seconds by craig levers

The Out Takes 


In the latest issue of Damaged Goods the lead feature is a piece the fellas asked me to write about the 1990's. You can read more about that issue and the making of the feature HERE .

It has been out a month now, so I'm going to share some of the out-takes. The shots that made the edit selection but in the end didn't quite make the cut.  


First up is Timmy Curran in 1996. This image was the first alternate in the cut. It was shot in the Valley during a free surf around the Billabong Raglan WQS. It's hard to convey just how big the 3 Raglan Billabong WQS's were in the mid 90's. They were perfectly timed into a gap in the WQS schedule, just after the Aussie leg. There was a massive influx of international surfers. Surfing in NZ was going through a massive spike in popularity so the combination meant Raglan was packed with spectators. 

Me ol' partner in crime Chris 'Budge' Berge on the tools for the '95 final of the Billabong Coca-Cola Raglan WQS 

Me ol' partner in crime Chris 'Budge' Berge on the tools for the '95 final of the Billabong Coca-Cola Raglan WQS 

Tim Curren had just featured in Taylor Steele's 1995 release Focus. The goofy footer opened the video landing a crazy 360 air. Sponsored by Quiksilver he was toted as the next threat to Kelly Slater's crown. He was the surfer everyone wanted images of. 

I'm flopping around in the Valley with my alloy housing with the Canon Eos 5 camera,  a 28mm lens with 36 frames of Velvia loaded. I'm working with Shane Herring trying to get some snaps, but then out of nowhere Tim does this. At the time I didn't even know he was in the water and it happened so fast I wasn't sure who I'd just shot. I wouldn't know for a week  until all the rolls of film got processed. The sequence got used as a DPS in the preceeding issue of NZ Surf Mag. Quikky expressed interest in using it internationally which at the time stoked me out. I was only a couple of seasons into shooting from the water. 

So thank you Tim for throwing up a nice flare on your wave in that crispy autumn morning in 1996. You made my swim. 


This is a bit of a controversial one to post 'cos I don't know if Larry Fisher will be that stoked on it resurfacing. But it's posted with love and warm memories of great times. In 1994 Daggy Dance parties were the norm. The idea was that everyone wore the daggiest shit they could find. It was a cool way of lightening up the scene. During the 90's Piha had a very happening surf scene. Rent was cheap, cars and petrol were cheap so heaps of surfing students opted to live out at the beach. Added to that a lot of NZ top surfers of the era were also living at Piha. 

This daggy party was at Larry and his wife to be Donna's flat, just above Pendrel Road. It ended up being quite the party house for a year or two. In this shot there's Larry resplendent in his green get up- just owning it. Behind him is Nat Barron and Brent 'Dinky' Parkinson rocking his fur coat. The blonde is Donna, to the left rocking the grey trackys and Hawaiian shirt is Carla Michel. Far left is Charlie Chase with his iconic oriential/hawaiian shirt. 

This was shot on my beloved Olympus MJU II compact. Every photojournalist carried a Mju at that time, the small camera had an epically sharp 35mm glass lens. It allowed you take casual, more natural shots because you weren't putting a big SLR in someone's face. I guess an iphone does the same job now huh.


Cyco-Mike in full Suicidal mode. And here I'm pushing the shit out of what the Olympus Mju could do. In 1996 Suicidal Tendencies played the Powerstation in Auckland. The Sui's are one of my all time favourite bands, added to this my favourite NZ band Muckhole [as featured in the pages of DGZ] were opening for the Sui's an absolute match made in heaven as far as I was concerned. But wait there's more! Sean O'Brien, the lead singer of Muckhole got a bunch of us backstage for the entire concert. We were actually allowed onstage, so I shot a roll of black'n'white side stage of both bands. We were all so excited to be backstage I think we all tucked into Muckhole's rider a bit too much. I know it must have been fun, but I don't remember too much. Got the shot though! 


Take your sunnies off!  In 1997 there was a short lived TV channel called Max TV, Ella Willis [in the red Fox cap] was one of the presenters. Being a surfer and coming from the Willis surfing whanau, she was pretty good at pushing a surfing agenda with the Max TV producers. So we would team up to go on surf/photoshoots together. But the shithouse thing was every damn trip we got skunked for waves.

This one was with the Billabong A team of the time, from left to right there's Kelly Lovelock, Scott Casey, Jos Kennings, Ella, Ben Kennings at the back and Scotty McNabb sans sunnies in the front. We go so so skunked on this trip. Scott Casey's mum Cynthia was still running the old Cedarwood Motel in Port Rd, Whangamata. So Scott dialled in the accomodation. There was a nice 3 foot swell running, but overnight gale force south westers killed the swell. We were forced to settle with 1 foot Opoutere. So the smiles you see in this image are actually grimaces. 

Ella, beating us all in the drinking games. On the night of the howling winds, Scott and Kelly, not looking too stoked on her skills

Ella, beating us all in the drinking games. On the night of the howling winds, Scott and Kelly, not looking too stoked on her skills

It's of note how well all these surfers have gone on to do. Kelly is a top and highly regarded creative at FCB Advertising. Scott Casey was Billabong's Marketing manager for YEARS, before taking the plunge and now he and is wife Tiniel run Quiksilver NZ. Jos also worked for Billabong for years and now runs Hurley NZ with his wife Sarah. Ella worked for Arnette for awhile before getting into hospo, owning one of the Mount's most successful Cafe's. Ben has been the lynch pin of Surfing NZ since 2003, you have no idea the volume of work this fella does. Scotty McNabb bailed for the Goldcoast not long after this shoot, where he's an operation services officer, I have no idea what that is, but the bugger is always in Indo surfing. 

From The Bookstore


hhh, 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

The Birthday Party by craig levers

Piha Layers   in California at 1200mm wide stretched

Piha Layers in California at 1200mm wide stretched

I'll let you in on something, 10 years ago the PhotoCPL website was started up, it was mainly to offer images. The option of canvas printing was pretty new. I didn't like it, I thought it was a bit gimmicky- like you're trying to make a photo look like a painting. I thought it was a fad that will run its course, but my printers reckoned they were super popular, so canvas was offered up as an option. 

Piha Bar Barrel   in a classic white on white box frame at 900mm wide print size

Piha Bar Barrel in a classic white on white box frame at 900mm wide print size

I was wrong. While traditionally framed print behind glass is still the standard, there's a lot to be said for canvases. Canvas printing has moved beyond a fad and is definitely a viable option. If it's a big canvas there is no issue at all with the sharpness of the printed image. We use an organic German canvas, not those tacky synthetic ones, it's then UV lamented which a part from helping slow UV damage, it seals the ink in. This makes the canvas wipeable. So all my pre-conceived ideas about photographic prints mimicking paintings was pretty much wrong.

3 big canvases from a few years ago

3 big canvases from a few years ago

But here's the real deal about canvases, they are light! Traditional frames with glass are more expensive because there are more components, glass, matts and the frame, it also makes them quite weighty, so more consideration needs to go into hanging them. Canvases are stretched over a simple pine frame which is a lot lighter. I reckon this is the big selling point, in a high traffic area or if there are young kids in the home canvases are safer- no glass to shatter. And chances are if a canvas does get dislodged, it'll probably handle the jandal of the fall. 

Mangawhai Bar   on canvas at 1200mm wide

Mangawhai Bar on canvas at 1200mm wide

A perfect example of the right use of canvas in a high traffic area,the award winning    Piha Storm   at 1600mm wide in the Piha Cafe

A perfect example of the right use of canvas in a high traffic area,the award winning  Piha Storm at 1600mm wide in the Piha Cafe

One of my favourite canvas installations this past summer   Piha Peak   on canvas at 1200mm wide 

One of my favourite canvas installations this past summer Piha Peak on canvas at 1200mm wide 

On  all the images are offered as un-stretched and un-framed canvases/prints. It means the prices are the same whichever option you want. It's also the best and safest way to send out the pieces. They get sent out in a cardboard cylinder and then the client can decide on framing choices at their end. 

Don't let Simon Gilbert's frown put you off- go big for home, this is   Muriwai Ganets   at 2000mm wide... and Piha Storm in the background  

Don't let Simon Gilbert's frown put you off- go big for home, this is Muriwai Ganets at 2000mm wide... and Piha Storm in the background

But June is my birthday month and is kind of celebrating it's 10th year of existence too. So what's the deal getting offered here: EVERY canvas ordered in June will be stretched Free Of Charge... as in, no extra. The deal is available for nationwide delivery [sorry internationals]  


2BlBBs.jpg is where you can view and buy both prints and BOOKS! Like the might Big Little Beach Book, small in price and stature, big on Kiwi beaches delivery. 

The Other Side of The Lens With Meady by craig levers


Last week, my mate and colleague Damon Meade was up from his native Gisborne. He stayed for four days of good shooting conditions. It was super fun. Hanging out, talking shit and plans for the future. It is rad to realise we have known and worked alongside each other for more than 15 years. We've often been a part of the media scrum at surf events. You don't do that event in event out, spending days on end behind the tripods not becoming firm friends. 

Meady has become one a veteran of NZ surf media- perhaps a dubious title. But there is no doubt he's done the yards. So for this post, it's all about the moving image.  

How and when did you get started shooting surf videos?

I was at Massey University studying fine art in the early 2000's and my work involved doing video installation. I bought a mini DV camera to document and create my art projects.  I started playing around with shooting some surf in the holidays. I came home from Uni one time and Maz was living next door to my parents. I hit him up to see if he wanted to shoot. The next day I got a 5am call up and we shot up the coast to a mysto spot for the day and that was kind of the start of it. 

There were a bunch of other crew living in Gisborne at the time that were all surfing at a world class level. Bobby Hansen, Blair Stewart and Ricardo Christie for instance. The talent was there so it was pretty easy to roll up to the beach and capture what was going down. I knew I was witnessing a particularly high level era in NZ surfing. I made it my job to document this. After enough hours and months spent on the beach had passed I had enough for a full feature surf film; The DVD Wolfskinz was born. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 9.00.32 AM.jpg - Wolfskinz

Even early on my goal was to get NZ surfing onto a Taylor Steele video. I sent him a miniDV tape packed with all my best stuff of the Kiwi crew, but never quite made the cut. 

That radical layback of Bobby from the opening wave of Wolfskinz was penciled in to an early rough cut of 'Stranger Than Fiction', but didn't make the final cut. Around 2010 the Innersection platform emerged and my goal was achieved, securing Luke Cederman into one of Taylor's vids. 

I backed that up the year following working with Ricardo Christie. I had achieved everything I'd set out to do with surf filming in NZ once the dust had settled.

But Meady didn't stop there. Under the Weather is NZ's most viewed surf video. How did the project start, and could you explain the crowd funding and then subsequent distribution? 

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 9.01.15 AM.jpg - Under The Weather

Goals were fulfilled.  Cameras destroyed and the show reel was shining, but the money wasn't there.  So I brain stormed a way to spend 12 months chasing action around the country and put something tangible together one last time. I crowd funded Under the Weather, which always intended to remain online, free, forever. There was a print run of just 200 DVD's that were effectively pre ordered by some of the funders.  Other rewards included surf product that generous sponsors had donated, which I then on sold as part of the funding campaign. When the film was completed, I sent it out to every surf related website worldwide. Within a couple of months it had reached 50k views. A lot of time went into getting it front of the right people.  Making sure every surf site in the world knew about it and had the option of posting it. The film itself took the best part of a year to put together.

Can someone make a living out of filming surf in NZ or even the world for that matter? 

I wouldn't want to discourage anybody with the desire to pursue this path. It's important to emphasize that if you want it anything is possible. I think being passionate about your craft and putting in the time are two of the most important ingredients for success. There are definitely folks out there at the top of their game that have the skills to command highly sought after day rates and production gigs within the industry. I think it comes down to being innovative with your vision from a business model perspective.  Realising that shooting surf is a part of the bigger whole. Ultimately it's a passion gig with the potential to earn income and lead to other things. 

One advantage is that surf films take a long time to put together. Through this time spent behind the camera and in real life shooting scenarios, you get pretty good. That skill set can translate into a career, and the world is literally your oyster with where you can take it. 

Career spin offs could lead to following the WSL around the world as a cameraman full time, working on self directed initiatives with a sponsorship backbone, or creating content for brands. If you're good at what you do, keep it up but treat yourself as a business. You can spend all the time in the world standing on the beach, but you still have to put bread on the table at the end of the day. It's always nice to be able to afford that brand new camera you've always needed too and big cameras get big jobs.

Meady on the tools at Piha last week

Meady on the tools at Piha last week

Who told you that line Meady :) Great advance bro. So speaking of skills, what do you think your key work ones are?

My job generally involves showing up as a one man production company. So shooting with the edit in mind, self directing and making sure I walk away with everything I need to put together a video once I walk off set. So it's crucial to get every shot right and to be able to think on your feet. I know how to shoot tack sharp footage that has great audio under pressure situations, because that's what I have to be able to do. Lately I'm doing a lot of time lapse work and shooting a heap of landscape photography, which is also forming part of my business model moving forwards. Here are some snippets of some recent work: - Showreel

You are doing a lot more corporate work now,  will this eventually drag you away from the beach forever?  

To be honest 75-80% of my work is non surf related, so yes that's happening. But those jobs provide challenges of their own and they are mighty enjoyable in their own ways. I do a lot of construction time lapses. I tell brand stories and document products and processes for all sorts of companies. The work is really interesting and it is putting me I'm in a position where I have to learn everything there is to know about a business to tell its story. Technically these jobs keep me on my toes in regards to equipment and filming techniques. I like the balance, and having this work makes it that much more enjoyable to be called away to a surf event for a weekend and catch up with all of the legends that put on that show.

So there you go; check out the links and enjoy some fine work from one of NZ's best. 

tologa617v002.jpg is where you can view and buy both books and prints like this one. The four Galleries have over 180 images available. And this is a brand new two. Both shot on film and then drum scanned for gnarly, GNARLY high resolution.  Check them out in the Elements Gallery


Another Good Run by craig levers


Slow shutter panning, so on trend right now. I posted this on Instagram during the week and lots of people assumed it was Piha Bar, it's not. 

It has been a big ole week of activity out west. Lots of good banks, off-shore winds and swell. The A team were on it; Damon Meade was up from Gizzy to get some footage. Meady is the videographer/producer who has created Kiwi classics like Under The Weather and The Beaten Track. Check out his YouTube channel HERE  


Meady on the tools    

To be perfectly honest Meady was driving force behind this week's shoots. He set a strong discipline of up every morning before dawn for fuelling and then down court-side as the shadows shrunk back from the playing field. Shoot, re-fuel, download footage, re charge batteries, shoot the next tide, recharge, then get some cut aways/ time lapses, literally from dawn to dusk. I was loving it! 


Elliot Paerata-Reid was Meady's main subject for this week's sessions


EPR, readying for session #9 


Just to show I can actually take a photo not blurry... once in a while anyway


Potential everywhere


EPR, the early bird and flying 


Fireman calendar model Jamie Piggins tucked in to more than a couple between shifts


James McAlpine hunted down the best peaks as per


Good reason for the earlies




Bevan Wiig flowing some rail and causing the appropriate energy transfer


Ok, one more quick gif of Elliot .... 


Yep. It was a good week to be out West, hope you got your fill.   

CrystalCynalder.jpg is where you can view and buy both books and prints like this one. The four Galleries have over 180 images available. This one, Crystal Cylinder, just got added last month. It's my screen saver at the moment, you should totes buy it for that blank living room wall :)    

The Retro King by craig levers


Issue 22 of Damaged Goods Zine has just hit the book stands. The lead feature, cover and outro are all retro pieces by me. 


I'll let you in on a little secret, the feature was actually written over a year ago. Jerry from DGZ asked me to write it and I jumped at the invitation. But then other features and events got in the way of the photo edit. Finally, during production for this issue, Skip and I spent a few days going through boxes and boxes of the archive to nail down the images to be used. I gave Skip full carte blanche and control, after all it is their magazine and their aesthetic. There are images I'm surprised by, but all in all I reckon it's a pretty good trip down memory lane. 


Issue 22 of DGZ isn't just about this slice of NZ Surfing history. There are great features and profiles on photographer Shaun Tunnicliffe, Ric Christie, Tobby Butler, Sam Baker, Tai Graham and Elin Tawharu as well as insane photo galleries of substantial NZ waves. Once again DGZ leads the way in curating a well thought out issue, with depth and variety. But don't take my word for it, check it out HERE  

Meanwhile, Back At The Beach... 


Was there an actual Bar?! Well, yes, yes there was! It still wasn't Piha Bar of all time, but last week saw some great sessions go down at South Piha. I don't like stating it, and I don't like proclaiming it, but with the country's only surf website permanently pointing it's most viewed live camera at the Bar there's no point in me trying to be defuse. Apparently there where 60 surfers in the water at dawn last Saturday- heavy. But this wasn't then. 


Local surfer Nigel Grayling squaring off the bottom


Nige with his Tomo


The Te Ahuahu Hog! Me good neighbour Mike Mulcahy smashing the end section 


Nice cast! And probably a bit of lead to the head for the fellas on the take off peak


And meanwhile up the beach from where I'd rather be...


Jesse Peters, organiser of the Mangawhai Bowl Jam, surf retailer and wedding photographer to the stars 


Dan Farrel putting his pink Aubertin well through its paces 


Same wave, back truck over the coping


The South Seas book, revised with over 80% new photographic content from NZ best surf photographers and some of NZ's best surf, still available nationwide in all good surf stores or of course direct HERE 

Autumns Quick Windows by craig levers

long beach walks with stretched out lefts 

long beach walks with stretched out lefts 

If you were a traveler to New Zealand or had this last week off and were able to go swell [or should that be conditions] chasing you'd have to be one pretty damn stoked out surfer. Both coasts of both islands have had their days. I know this 'cos Instagram tells me, and everything on Insty is real right?  But I'm also getting agonisingly good text and pxt from me ol' mate Wazza Hawke in the Mainland. I generally reply with a F%ck you Wazza! Knowing that he knows I'm stoked he's scoring the goodness.  

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 7.38.10 AM.jpg

Rambo scored this week out East 


Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 7.51.48 AM.jpg

Taranaki's Mr Shaun Coffey aka Coffdawg  scored big time yesterday as the predicted swell filled in on the west coast

Of course you know these three great surf photogs from their stunning work in such books as The South Seas aye :) 

And Me? Well I was struck down with the dreaded man-flu, plans to go for long lonely swims out east were dashed. I just couldn't get my act together. I waited for the waves to come to me. There was luck involved for sure, but Monday had a tiny window... 

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 8.17.39 AM.jpg

The CPL contribution to this week's Instagram surf frenzy, but you knew that 'cos you're following right? 

Elliot Paerata-Reid kicked my sorry sick arse into gear for a all too quick session with Toby Dobson-Smith and Kye Bedford in tow. 


Toby slipped into the first one of the session. 36 frames of giff glory 


EPR taking Toby's lead


And meanwhile Brendan Shadbolt picked off gems at Te Bar


Back out in front EPR feeling out just how far back your can backdoor a section


Backhand practice for this weekend's Rip Curl Raglan Classic? 


EPR on the last one... it was a good last one. 

And just like that our window closed, the tide changed and a southerly breeze whipped up. But for 30-40 all too brief a moments it was pretty damn good.   


Ahhh yes the aforementioned South Seas book, NZ best surf photographers and some of NZ's best surf, still available nationwide in all good surf stores or of course direct HERE 

More From The Collection Vol 1 by craig levers


The Collection Vol 1... Wazza's brainchild and new best seller from PhotoCPL Media HERE

Last week's E-Bomb went pretty nuts. I'm a stat and analytics watcher, trying to figure out what subscribers do and don't warm to... and then still probably ranting on about whatever.  You can read last week's HERE


The Roger Hall interview in The Collection Vol 1 is one of the most challenging profiles I've ever done. It's not because Roger is hard to interview, it is because he has been interviewed so many times before for magazines and books. Those interviews have tended to be a bit Ra-Ra and concentrated on the positive. There is nothing wrong with that, but we needed more than gush for The Collection. One of the concepts of The Collection is to be more real, honest and wart'n'll. And that's pretty challenging when you're interviewing friends, peers and elders of the tribe. But having that inside view also means you know the questions to ask, the ones that will hopefully yield the good oil. 


Rog, quite literally in his natural habitat at the Racecourse


Insert Breaking Bad reference here! 

Here is the first third of the profile that featured in The Collection Vol 1. We entitled it Humble Pie, not because Roger is humble [he is though] more because he kept firm in his conviction to explore different designs and surf craft while very publicly being mocked. The mockers are now the ones eating humble pie.  


Rog walking the talk

From The Collection Vol 1...

Some insight about meeting Roger; he connects with people very easily. His passion for crafting boards is infectious. He engages and shares detail that others would not be comfortable doing. He's humble and sincere. He drags you in. He's a perfectionist. He's kind of a nerdy mad professor. But it's that nerdy-ness that makes him the tinkerer, the inventor and the innovator.  

Here's an example; most board makers get a blank from the manufacturer that blow the foam. These come in a variety of sizes, densities and a whole host of options, like multiple stringers, lightweight etc. The Shaper chooses the blank that they feel best suits the board you've asked for.  Then shape the design out of that, a nice simple work flow right? 

No, not Roger. He's found a way to make boards stronger. He gets custom blanks made, sans stringer [that bit of wood that runs down the middle of your board]. He has sourced his own stringers, he uses Poplar wood because of its strength and memory. You can't pop down to the hardware store and pick up Poplar planks. No one stocks Poplar; that would be too easy.  Roger has his man that fells and harvests the trees in the Waikato. 


Customs from the stringer up

Once dried and aged, the Poplar planks are then hand selected for each custom board. The plank is milled to the profile of that board. The stringerless blank is dissected and glued to this custom stringer. And now the blank is ready to start. Anal-retentive? Probably.  But what it all means is that Roger has found a way to make a stronger, lighter board. The process of making foam blanks means the strongest part is the outside skins. By removing the least possible amount from the blank Roger's final product is stronger. But what a procedure! 

Every system in the factory has been subjected to this type of rigor. Roger does everything just a little different, and maybe, just a little better. I remember interviewing him 20 years ago and he showed me his logbook. Every board shaped was faithfully recorded. Most shapers take measurements every foot along the length of a board to make sure their lines and cuts are right. Not Roger, he's every 3 inches. He has always been on a quest to remove the variables, to be concise. 
And this isn't even the stuff that put him on the outer with his peers in the '70's. It was [and is] his lateral approach to board design. His personal conviction to ride boards that suited the waves. 

"Yeah I become aware of the criticism early on, it was pretty hard to miss. From the start I had this wide open vision of what surfboards could be.  They could be anything you could imagine. And there was a real case for riding lots of different surfboards, exploring different shapes and riding waves in different ways.  Waves vary dramatically from place to place and from tide to tide. So why would you ride the same board. I mean, we're all individuals, so in theory we should all be surfing differently anyway. Surely surfboards should be different.  I always had this idea that surfboards could be different from one another. So I just pursued that, it felt like a natural thing to do.

That was fine when I was in my little Beam Bay Bubble with my group of buddies and we were having fun. But then I decided to build a string of boards and put them in a shop. I went along to Wilkinson Sports in Whangarei, there weren't any surf shops in town then, they put a rack of my boards in there. And that's pretty much when the trouble started.
This was the early 1970's, there were the standard single fins in the rack, but there were also twin keel fishes there. I think the twin keel fishes was the first example of me doing things that I felt were a natural thing to do and then exposing it to other people. People weren't aware of these designs and that they were coming out of San Diego, that it was something that was happening in California. They weren't ready for it, the boards just looked weird to them. And they thought it was directly attributable to me." 

Of course nowadays Twin Keel Fishes are in every hipster's quiver. But in the early '70's it was easy to dismiss Roger as well and truly being off on his own trip. In fact that is almost exactly what a senior member of the Northland scene levelled at the shop assistants.  It undermined Roger's credibility with Wilkinson's and of course was hard not to take as a personal slight.  

But Roger never really helped himself either, refusing to fit in, he stuck to his guns very publicly. There was a surf competition on at Sandy Bay. The scene was small in the '70's and early '80's, competitions were regarded as a meeting of the tribe.  Also they were a chance to showcase your wares. At the time surfboards had dropped in length to under 6ft with a mix of Single Fins and Mark Richards inspired Twin Fins.

Well, Roger decides to go in the comp. He also decides to ride his newly shaped 7'11" longboard, talk about sticking your neck out to get your head lopped off.
"I had just returned from Hawaii, totally inspired by what Ben Aipa was doing. He'd paddle out on a long board and totally rip on that, go in and get his 6’5” Shortboard and blaze on that. It was a massive vindication of what I thought surfing could be. 


At this time long boarding had completely died. The only place you saw ”an old dunger” was the lawn in front of the Lifesaving Club or the rare old diehard. I got back from Hawaii and shaped a long board. It was short by today's standards, but it was the longest blank I could find. 

So I get up to Sandy Bay for the competition, I really didn't think anything of it, I was amped to ride my new board.  As I pulled it out of the back of the van it was literally a 'you could hear a pin drop moment'. Then I could hear sniggering and giggling. As I looked down the row of cars there were a couple of well known guys theatrically holding their ribs, bent over, about to roll on the gravel.  You know, it was one of those things, 'why would this guy want to ride a board like that. Why would you shape one and why the hell would you show up at a contest with it!' It was like 'what planet is this guy on!' kind of vibe."

So how'd he go? "Well the funny thing is I actually got a mention in the paper! I was still making boards at my parent's home. I was working away and Mum comes out on the balcony 'Listen to this' and I almost remember it word for word. Mum read it out ' Perhaps the most notable performance was that of Ruakaka surfer Roger Hall, who impressed, despite riding a long single fin surfboard'. 

The thing that surprised me about all the criticism was why would they even care. So they couldn't get their head around what I was doing, but so what? Why should anyone really care about what Roger Hall is doing up in Ruakaka. The bit that was hard to take, was that I got that reaction, I didn’t see it coming and I didn’t understand it. And it was such a slap, you know? " 


Despite the very vocal naysayers something was going on. By the early '80's Roger was getting his boards into a lot of shops. Surf stores are not Art Galleries, they stock stuff to sell it. "I did react to the negative reactions, in a way it did me a favour, because I dug my toes in. I resolved myself to, no, this feels right for me to be surfing these boards.  And if it feels right for me, it's gotta feel right for other people. So yeah, I kind of thought I had a point to prove here. 

The thing is, as much as I did get that negative reaction, I also got some really positive reaction. A guy in Gisborne, then a guy in Dunedin, then a guy in Christchurch, then someone in Wellington would get in touch; 'Hey I wouldn't mind one of those boards made, they look a lot of fun.'  

I'd make the board and send it down. The local board makers didn't want a bar of making boards like this. So surfers ordering my boards didn't feel disloyal getting one. So slowly but surely I was sending boards to the four corners of New Zealand."

“While I'm copping the flack, here I am shipping these orders out.” 

AND CUT.... wanna read the other 2/3's of the feature? Well you're going to have to find the book for that... Oh wait you could find it HERE :) 

And speaking about interviews.... 


As I dislike being on the front of the lens, so too do I like being interviewed. It's just weird. Weird answering questions, not doing the asking. But I also know it's important as a freelancer to get yourself out there. Thanks to Reuben for being kind to me in the interview. You can read Reuben's Blog HERE 


Reuben used 'Sundowner' as the opening image for the interview, which I liked a lot as it's a very fresh image. You can check it out larger HERE and LIKE it, Share it, Pin it, Tweet It, Email it...all of the options are on page...AND of course you could always BUY IT :) 

Excerpts From The Collection Vol 1 by craig levers

I've always been a massive fan of Warren Hawke's work. I grew up on the stuff. In the '80's there was a NZ surf mag called Free Bird and Warren's photography was prevalent in it. One of the very first surf posters I had on my wall was a Free Bird centrefold of Warren's. It was Mangaumanu at Dawn absolutely firing. In 1992 I nearly bought his old Century 650mm lens, he very kindly sent it up to me from New Brighton. To be honest I was fan boying out, talking to him on the phone and getting the lens sent up for inspection. I desperately wanted to buy it, but upon seeing it I knew it just wasn't the right move. 

Warren Hawke's centrefold line up that Free Bird actually lost the original slide mentioned, this image was from the same roll of film. 

We became foes. Not over the lens, over working for competing magazines. For 15 years there was a firm rivalry between us. Actually, I'm going to drop Waz in it here- HE had a rivalry, I was still fan boying out. But I was aware of a reticence, of a reserved demeanour whenever we'd cross tripod legs at surf comps.  

But then I left the magazine to start making books. And at a surf comp both Waz and I were shooting, Waz started sowing seeds about this... 

NZ Surf CBASL.jpg

Limited stock still available HERE

We made a book together. And we sold a shit ton of them. But the best thing that came out of it was the friendship. In 2016 Waz started making noise about a new book project...


The Collection Vol 1... Wazza's brainchild and new best seller from PhotoCPL Media HERE

I wasn't sold at first pitch. I could see how much work was going to have to go into the collation and generation of the stories and profiles for Waz [and I]. With the publisher hat firmly on, it looked like a book project that would be hard to show the reader what they are getting. My Book Sellers, the people who sell to the mainstream stores loved the idea though. And that's all that was needed to press the go button.  It consumed Waz for a year, writing, shooting, wrangling contributors and then overseeing just how all that is presented on the pages. 


Being really honest Waz fell into some well known editor traps. He put too much in. He put over 500 images into the 186 page volume. I'm a less is more editor, be ruthless, and let the bangers breathe and be real heroes of the spreads. Waz is more emotional, he loves, lives and breathes the stories behind each image and strives to get in as many different people as possible. I'm the Publisher not the Editor, so it was important that Waz's editorial direction and aesthetic be respected. And in many ways I was wrong, Waz was right, we've sold a shit ton of The Collection Vol 1 . The people have spoken, with their purchases. 

The idea with this E-bomb was to share a excerpt in fuller form from The Collection, but the intro has got away on me a bit and turned into its own story. But that's what I like about these posts, there's no hard rules. The Collection included a section called NZ Surf Villages, Piha, Sumner, Muriwai and Waiuku were the surf villages profiled. But later in the book, Wellington, Gizzy, The Coro, BOP and Kaikoura also get their own chapters. Waz did a damn fine job of getting regional diversity. 

Here's The Piha Chapter that Waz made me write and shoot, minus the Garry Pike interview and the tale of Baz, you'll have to get the book to read those gems :) 


Piha Local James Macapline on his favourite peak


The West coast village just 45 minutes from Downtown Auckland has had more than its fair share of media.
We are infamous for drowning the unwary.  The TV dramatisation Piha Rescue did it.  It was broadcasted into the nation's living rooms for a staggering 15 years. The show fuelled people's [very logical] fear of rips and high seas. Piha surfers loathed it. Theatrical rescues with lifesavers hamming it up for the camera. But when you explain to someone you're from Piha the general reaction will be "oh you surf THERE! I love Piha Rescue! Wow, that's so dangerous, you must be a great surfer." You find yourself nodding in confirmation "Yeah, you've gotta be careful out there." 
Piha is the birthplace of modern NZ surfing.
It is the surf beach that Californians Bing Copeland and Rick Stoner visited and stayed in 1958.  The two surfers' had modern Malibu surfboards that were able to cut across a wave face. This blew the minds of local clubbies like Pete Byers, Buddy Cox, Roger Curtis and Murray Bray. Bing recalls the two boards stayed in the water from dawn to dusk that summer. The boards are on show in the rafters of the Piha Surf club to this day.
Pete Byers became one of New Zealand's first surfboard makers. The savvy entrepreneur rented and sold his boards on the beach.  Pete built a mould to blow his own blanks. He supplied most of the other NZ surfboard makers and exported blanks to the Aussies. All from little ole Piha.


The Bar


Piha/Bali resident Nick Ngu Chun well used to being here on the Bar
What of The Surf?  
One thing Piha never lacks is waves and sometimes they are even surfable. Piha surfers do surf A LOT, it is often a quantity not quality equitation. 
The famous, iconic Piha Bar does not exist. It is an absolute myth. The left hander that peeled from Nun Rock, down Taitomo Island to the shadow of Lion Rock. It has not broken for decades. Folklore would have it that the Bar was there for the 50's to the late 80's. On low tide there was the Bar and on high tide there was the Ditch. I loved the Ditch as a gremmie of the '80's. 


Dune Kennings caught his first wave in the Ditch...this is not the Ditch...well maybe outer outer Ditch? 

The Ditch doesn't exist either. Man, I miss it. If the Bar was the grown ups' wave, then the Ditch was the spawning ground. In the southern corner of South Piha starting at mid tide a right-hand reform would appear. As the tide moved in the reform would only get better. The bigger the swell, the better it got. It got heavy, it could get up to 6 foot. We had the most perfect surfers' beach. Low tide long lefts and a go-to reform on every high tide, everyday of the year. Surfers' decision to base at Piha was on the assumption that these two go to waves would always be there. The Ditch silted up. It's gone. 
The two waves were symbiotic. The Pakiti rip [the south end rip] gouged out the ditch that made the reform. The sand that it gouged out was then deposited on the Bar. There are thousands of theories about our loss. The three I think most probable are these. There is a documented trillion ton sausage of sand silting up the West coast beaches. The once strong South Piha stream that divided South Piha is a trickle.  This stream added volume to the Pakiti rip. It has been stifled by water flow redirections in the streets above the bay. The dunes got topped in the late '80's by Bach owners hell bent on creating living room sea views.  A view that was never there before. I don't think it is one thing; they all have had their effect.


Dave 'Chicken Legs' Wood... as Piha as you can get
Every so often lefts will form in the general area of Taitomo Island.  Taitomo is the island the bookends South Piha and has the famous Keyhole cave running through it. The locals get excited, the Bar is back! Yes, the lefts are created by the Pakiti rip deposits. But these lefts are often only two or three sections, 100-200 metres of ride. It is a far cry from the terrifying lurch and launch of outside Submarine rock.  A truly horrible underwater feature just to the outside of the Keyhole.  Then the throw of the Beehive section before the link to Pakiti and beyond.


Piha regular Bevan Wiig finding options sans Bar
Years before Pete Byers passed I asked him about the lack of Bar now, and how it was in the halcyon days. He scoffed 'Ahhhhh maaaaate, it has always come and gone. I remember in the late '60's we didn't surf it for years.' I think Mr. Byers was right. The trillions of tons of sand are supposed to move past us on their northern drift. There are cycles within larger cycles.    
Present day Piha is far from waveless. In the '80's North Piha was rarely surfed, you had to be selective, wait for the summer banks, wait for tide. Now there are resident surfers that only surf North P. To join the surf schools, the clubbies and general malaise that is the chaos of South is a fail. For a decade at least North P has been where the real surfers go.


Best buddies Elliot Paerata Reid and Dune, paying for playing
The aforementioned siltation has done it. Sometimes banks of an epic scale.  Remember that old advert on TV 'Never swim in a calm patch on a surf beach' well that was filmed at North Piha. The advert featured a hole created by a rip that ran from the shore out about 500 metres. Of course waves don't break in deep water, but they do peel along the edge of those holes. And these are our typical banks, not your average beach break A-frame. No, no, no, we get looooong peeling waves that better resemble a point break type length. Piha surfers are good at paddling [in rips], duck diving [in rips] and cutbacks [because of rips]. We don't go for surfs, we go for paddles.  

Warren Hawke has his own website called Surfers Wall, check it out HERE

Going Hans Solo by craig levers


This image is now available as a print HERE

I couldn't believe my bad luck. I rang seven different mates to find a traveling buddy for this mission. The swell maps showed it was going to be on, they all saw it and knew it. But not one of them would press the go button. The problem was they'd all burned their credits and sick leave on Easter Weekend and its swell. There was nothing left in the tank. 

I was going regardless, I was going to be Nigel No Mates for four days. It bothered me, I like sharing the fun of a roady. I couldn't believe 7 from 7 couldn't do it. But I went, solo. 

The destination was a beach that I love as much as Piha. And where it is isn't important, if you know then you know. I'm not quite sure why this stretch of sand has always captivated me. It does indeed tick all the boxes. Beautiful golden sand. A pleasing arc to its shores. Surf. On its day exceptional surf. Great fishing too I'm told. 

I first visited the beach in the late '80's, and since then it has been a semi regular haunt. In 2004 I was in a whisker's breath of buying some land five minutes down the road. I'm still not sure if opting out was the right decision. 


The shot used by Rip Curl in the '90s and the back cover of the book PhotoCPL

Over the years the beach has been kind to me. It yielded a Rip Curl Search image in 1995. For a while in the mid nineties it was the go to for photo shoots and surfs. Dozens of centrefold and feature shots have come from it. The wave quality and water colour being a somewhat valid excuse to make the 5 hour drive. As much as that, it was the adventure, albeit tame, a long drive and then a dash of 4x4-ing down the dunes. Staying in cabins. Being able to not bother other surfers by finding your own peak. 


Been missing this place

In recent years I haven't been able to make the drive so often. Family comes first. But I got to fill my boots once more and rekindle the love affair. For 4 glorious days the swell pumped. It ranged from 3 foot A frames to 6 foot slabs. On out going tides the lefts would pump, on incoming the rights would turn on. 


Get out there fellas!


Options V1


Sand Dredger


Lots of lonely ones went through unridden


Options to the left and right 


Crystalline. You can view this image bigger, and buy a print HERE


Beautiful accident


Low tide left


No One Home. Room available with epic sea views and plenty of space. More than enough room to swing a cat. Prefer Goofy footers but Natural footers should have no problem nestling in either. Owners seldom home. To view this larger and buying options check it out HERE


Pretty sure this must be a quad right? 


Fish eye barrel view


Defo a three fin!


Never mind the mind surfing mate, get out there!


Aussie dingo Murray Antonieff got some of the best ones 


6'3" Alex Long managed to stuff his lanky frame in a couple


Muzza's paddle out


Crystal cylinders for daze. This image can also be viewed larger and bought for your wall HERE



Pretty much a vista you could handle every dawn huh!


The scramble to get that last one before the sun drops, and then you get it, it's good and hollow, it even breaths and spits. The best way to end a day. To view this one larger and purchasing options just click HERE

Being Hans Solo wasn't so bad as it turned out. It's harder to begrudge a solo surfer paddling out onto a peak. I made new friends, had great chats with locals and other roadsters. I ran to my own timetable and only had me to blame for missing out.  

It's Black Friday!!!

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You may remember ...or not... there was a post last month about how absolutely shit Watercare's plan is to nail 10 acres of regenerated native bush in Titirangi. No? Well that post is HERE

I'm thrilled to be walking the talk and be involved in the group exhibition ON DEATH ROW which is opening TONIGHT! You can find out more about the exhibition and the cause HERE

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But also it is the grand finale of the The O'Neill Aotearoa Surf Film Festival
You can book online HERE  

So whatcha gonna do? Do both! 

From The Book Store  


Yeeooowww! The South Seas Book just landed a rave review and feature in the latest Smorgasboarder Magazine! Smorgasboarder is freely available in surfshops throughout New Zealand and Aussie, so landing that much space is pretty damn cool. Check out the South Seas book HERE

East-Cape-ing by craig levers

Ok, settle in for a long post with lots of topics... exactly what they tell you at web log school not to do. 

But first the fun bits and then the bite.


Beautiful Mahiasian sundowners

The gorgeous Ange and I have been back a week now from an epic tour of the East Cape. We spent 10 days living out of the mighty Cambulance. The dates were locked in months ago, work, weddings and other events conspired to make the 10 days we had, the only 10 days we could have. As it turned out the weather pattern was not good for surf, there were doggy doors here and there, but as we travelled these surf doors closed. But that's cool, the Eastern shores have so much more to offer than just surf. 


The cambulance under a Tologa Bay night

Gizzy and The Cape hold so many memories for me, there was a time where I'd be in Gizzy at least once a month to shoot surf. You can't not get attached to the people and the places when you're doing that much time. Ange hadn't been often so I got to play tour guide. 


Cambulance finds an old friend parked up in Mahia 


Gizzy Island... temptingly close to pumping 


Tologa Bay Wharf... it's bloody long! 


The wharf under stars

It is often talked about, that the East Cape is a refreshing step back in time. I suspect East Capers would cringe at the generalisation, that what outsiders see at rustic, they experience as a lack of infrastructure and a region largely ignored by central government. Once thriving wharves and their associated towns are shadows of their former glory. The wharves were the link to the outside world, the way that stores were shipped in and wool and stock was shipped out. Coastal Shipping in NZ was a huge industry until roading and cattle trucks made it all largely redundant. 


Tokomaru Bay Woolstore exterior


Tokomaru Bay Woolstore Interior ... well it's not that internal to be fair

Of course this all makes for a photographic frenzy. Gritty studies of turn of the 19th century buildings and facades. Like any Kiwi photographer I'm hugely influenced by the work of Robin Morrison, his book A Sense Of Place published in 1984 was a watershed moment. New Zealanders were starting to move out from under Mother England's shadow and were slowly developing our own identity. A Sense Of Place reflected and in fact heralded that shift in culture. There's a brilliant docco short film, about Robin, in fact as he was dying of cancer here


The old Bank of New Zealand building Tokomaru 


The Bank of New South Wales, Tokomaru 


Beautiful mess Waipiro Bay 


Cambulance wave porn somewhere on the Cape


Cape Runaway from Waihau Bay... as seen in the book Beached As Then and Now 


Raukokore Church, an icon of the Cape


The Cambulance in full camp mode

10 days was good, but as always the familiar; but next time we need to spend longer at... or stay at... and then the surf has been good all this week in Gizzy, Dammit! - next time. 

Black Friday

It's gonna be a busy day Friday April 13th

death row.jpg

You may remember ...or not... there was a post last month about how absolutely shit Watercare's plan is to nail 10 acres of regenerated native bush in Titirangi. No? Well that post is HERE

I'm thrilled to be walking the talk and be involved in the group exhibition ON DEATH ROW which is opening on the next black friday, you can find out more about the exhibition and the cause HERE

But also that night is the grand finale of the The O'Neill Aotearoa Surf Film Festival

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Here's the remaining schedule for this season. You can book online HERE  

So whatcha gonna do? Do both! 

And speaking of Big Brother bulldozing...  


stolen from the Action Station petition site

In a really fucked up move... and I can write that 'cos that's how I feel about it; NZTA and NZ Rail are planning to reek havoc on a national treasure Mangaunu.

I could [and have in the past] waxed on about what a special place Mangaunu, Kaikoura is. About how as a grommie the very first surf centrefold I had on my wall was Warren Hawke's dawn line up of the point firing, it was my first bucket list listing. The fact remains Mangamaunu is one of 17 nationally significant surf breaks listed in schedule one of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, so touching it is a dodgey move. Find out more about it HERE

From The Book Store  


Yeeooowww! The South Seas Book just landed a rave review and feature in the latest Smorgasboarder Magazine! Smorgasboarder is freely available in surfshops throughout New Zealand and Aussie, so landing that much space is pretty damn cool. Check out the South Seas book HERE

Adventures In Light by craig levers

I've been on the road for the last 10 days, and as much as that's been epic, it is pretty damn nice to come home to a big courier pack. 


Australian master surf photographer Ted Grambeau's new book is stunningly beautiful. And that sentence right there is all you need to really know, but hey, this is the weekly CPL E-Bomb, so lets fill up some time :) 


The hardcover large format book comes in it's own box. It's 31cm square, with heavy stock art paper. It's big in every sense at 240 pages. The whole package also includes a signed Ted print. It is one slick production, underwritten by Rip Curl, this would be my only complaint which is not really a complaint. I just wasn't expecting it to be a Rip Curl book. Ted has worked closely with Rip Curl for most of his long career, so there shouldn't have been a surprise. And flicking through the book, there's no question Rip Curl have done an amazing job of facilitating Ted's adventures over the last 4 decades.   


Being under written by Rip Curl has probably also facilitated the incredibly inexpensive cover price. It's only $69.90 AUD plus shipping- trust me on this one- it's a $150.00 book.


You'll already know many of the images, but in this collection they are thoughtfully curated and placed carefully together to create a flowing edition.


The book Adventures In Light absolutely show cases one of surf photography's masters whom remains to this day at the peak of his powers.


Want to find out more? Here's the link to the book on Ted's site   

The O'Neill Aotearoa Surf Film Festival

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Here's the remaining schedule for this season. You can book online HERE  

From The Book Store


Now here's some random facts, 503 people LIKE the South Seas Book website page and 1712 people follow its Facebook page. Bet you not all of them own it though. Does The South Seas book rival Adventures In Light? Yes, yes it does. Slighter higher production values with the fabric binding, gold embossing, and title debossing on the cover, use of variations of art stock text. An extensive intro chapter on the history of NZ surfing from our pioneers... hmmmm not better, but equally as worthy of your consideration perhaps? Books rule! Check out the South Seas book HERE

Keeping YOU busy by craig levers

The O'Neill Aotearoa Surf Film Festival 

The ASFF is in it's 6th year of running. And full credit has to go to the founder and dynamo that keeps a steady wheel, Nick Stevenson. It has been his vision since day dot, and he's pretty much pulling it off. Nick is passionate about encouraging young Kiwi film makers, every year he has managed to increase the prize pool for young locals. How do I know all this- well Nick roped me in as a founding judge on the screening panel, and I've continued to be invited back each season. I tell ya, I have seen some shit, but in amongst it there are some soaring moments of creativity and inspiration. 

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Gizzy showings this year at the Dome Bar and Theatre

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Christchurch this week!

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The Mount indoor screening

Nick takes the selection of short films and features on the road in a national tour. It's grassroots stuff, He loads up the Subby wagon and leaves his family for a month, touring NZ's coastal surf towns, there are glaring regional gaps, but every year another venue gets added.

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Here's the remaining schedule for this season. You can book online HERE  

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Further more and hither to all things grass roots, The Duke Festival is in full swing right now. It is New Zealand's largest surf festival, and I believe the surf comp this weekend attracts the largest field of competitors of any national contest. My main man Warren Hawke is one of the co-founding organisers of the week long festival. It includes a surf art exhibition [of which I couldn't get my act together to be involved] Film showings [yep the ASFF is tied in] concert, dinners, and board exhibition. If you're in glorious ChurChur this weekend, New Brighton is the place to be. 

The Duke Festival is firmly aimed at revitalising the coastal suburb, both after the earthquakes- the area was part of the worse affected- but also an on going push to see New Brighton lifted and recognised as a vibrant coastal suburb. It's something Warren is super passionate about... but you'd know that from reading his book NZ Surf Captured By A Surf Lens and his tales of growing up in the hood.  

But if you're stuck in the North...


Then Corona and Billabong NZ have you sorted with the annual Salt Circus  now in it's third year of running, this Saturday's event is firmly centred around casual fun and everything surfing. It's more a gathering than a hard out contest, with board meets, expression sessions and later a party at the legendary Astrolabe.  


Or if you'd rather just stay at home and have a good read, maybe hang some art then... 


Have we got a deal for you, you can take this offer up HERE

And the Winners Are...  

Last week's mailer was a short profile on surfing artist Greg Straight; wait you missed it? Well, the profile is preserved in perpetuity HERE 

In that mailer was a subscriber only competition for three of Greg's prints 

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Entries were strong! Everyone was assigned a number and then drawn using's random number selector so everything was fair and random. The three winners are getting sent out their prints today, you already know who you are if you are. 

From The Galleries

Piha House-ES-10.jpg

Here is a fine fine example of a 1200mm wide canvas in situ, the image is in architect Carolyn Gundy's own self designed home, which is an absolutely stunning sun trap. You can check out her website HERE . The image is Piha Peak click HERE to view it larger

Hanging With Mr Straight by craig levers


As you're about to read Greg and I have known each other for 25 years. More recently we bump into each other  all over the show, at galleries and the framers where we both get work done. Greg is prolific. He and his wife Hannah have done a great job to getting his art  into galleries around the country. 

I'm in awe of the retail network they have created. I'll walk into one of my key accounts for the books and bam there's another Greg Straight print. Turn on the telly; and there's a Greg Straight Macca's animated advert. He's getting it done. He's on trend with his bold coloured Kiwiana graphic style.


Last week at Piha, Mr Straight can still bang it!  

Let's go back to the start and tell us about your first foray  in creating something surf related. What was the idea with Octi and when did you start that? 

Octi was a clothing line I started in 1994 once I’d completed my BFA. It was a street wear label and at its peak sold in 12 stores nationwide. I was so green with the business side of things it was never going to be financial. After a couple of years I decided to pull the pin.

I wanted Octi to be 100% NZ made. I was to discover it is near impossible when you take into account how much things cost to make here in NZ. 

I did learn a lot from the whole Octi experience and it saved me from working for the man for a few years. I recall I surfed a lot back then.

I think this is how I first met you CP. If I remember rightly we had organised an Octi surf shoot at Piha on a Saturday morning with Jake ‘The Snake’ Hogan and Paul ‘PH’ Wynter.  The swell jumped up and the wind swung so it never happened. 

[I didn't remember that part of it at all! I recall us having a great evening of BBQ and beers . Then Team Octi crashing on my lounge floor for the night- fun times! - CP]


25 years later, we finally do the surfing shoot! 

How long were you in the UK, what were you doing there and is that where you met Hannah?

I lived in London for 6 years and worked as a graphic designer for mostly fashion brands. It was full time and then freelance. It was pretty cool working on accounts like Bench, Dr. Martens, Duffer and Fenchurch. 

When I arrived I got made redundant twice in the first 2 years. After the first time I took the redundancy pay and bought my first computer; an iMac. I used it every day and brushed up on my design skills, it was one of the best things I ever did, that was back in 2002.

Design wise I was creating a lot of tee shirt graphics and repeat prints for clothing. I have always loved tee shirts from 80's skateboarding tees to punk rock tees. Creating graphics for forward thinking and creative brands was a bit of a dream come true.

I also met my wife Hannah there in 2000 while she was working at a design company. She went onto having some pretty cool jobs working for a couple of West London’s top nightclubs.  And later an independent record label called Barely Breaking Even (BBE). 

London is definitely a crazy but very awesome place. I still miss those days.


Speed checking and racing 

Moving back to NZ, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do work-wise? Was there a concern you were moving from a big pool to a smaller market?

Towards the end of our time in England I started surfing more (doing regular trips down to Devon).  I had started really missing NZ and my family, so we decided to have a 2 year trial back in Aotearoa. If that didn’t work out we were planning on heading back.

I continued freelancing for some UK companies but as time went by the distance made it difficult. I did a bunch of tees for Huffer, RPM and the odd one for Federation.  But was soon to realise being a tee shirt guy was a limiting and underpaid.

We got married during that first year of being in NZ and discovered 5 days before the big day we were expecting our first. We had to buy a house and grow up real fast!

Then Hannah saw an ad for a full time position with a supplier for a graphics guy. The pay was a lot less than I was getting in the UK and the work was way less creative.  But with a mortgage and now family to support I took it and stayed there for 7 years.


The Papamoa daze; Greg with his first proper board, a Bob Davie shaped twin... and a rocking Piping Hot overlocked steamer! 

There's a lot of beach and surf references and orientation to your work. Are you always trying to sneak a cheeky reference in? 

I’ve always loved and been fascinated by the ocean. I started surfing when I was 11 and I was hooked. I became totally obsessed.

My aunty and uncle used to live at Papamoa, every school holiday we would go down there and I'd surf as much as I could. I have so many fond memories of this time and I try to tap into some of this nostalgia with my artwork. You know the weathered bach, beaten up longboard, the Kombie parked on the lawn.

But not all my prints feature the beach or have surf references. I recently created some South Island inspired prints just to mix up all the summer heavy imagery.

The Piha print was one of five artworks I created for retail store Texan Art Schools looking at different iconic Auckland locations. Piha had to have a couple of retro 80's surfboards in it and have the Bar breaking – how could it not! 

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I remember one time we went out there when I was about 13, the road was gravel back then and my mum made us all chicken soup. We took my mate Jeremy with us and on one of the sharp corners he lost his shit and hurled chicken soup. It went all over dad’s station wagon splattering our legs with regurgitated Watties. Needless to say, we never asked him again.


Greg in the studio signing a print you could have won...ummm if you were a subscriber to the PhotoCPL E-Bomb that is.  

How's the surfing/work/family balance going?

It’s a real juggle bro! Life is super busy and weekends are full on with kids activities and general house chores.  I tend to surf during the week. 

About 4 years ago I used to work every night after my day job, to about midnight and worked a lot of weekends. That’s definitely not a good work/family/surf balance. It was the only way  to transition from a full time job that was soul destroying (creatively), to being self-employed and following my dream.

I'm now surfing more than I have in 17 years. Saying that it's only once or twice a week but I'm happy with that. I don't have a boss (except the wife). I spend more time with my kids, which I love.  I get to work on some pretty cool projects with generally awesome clients.

So the answer to your question is the balance right now is pretty damn good!

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Check out Greg's website for more of his fine, fine work HERE 

From The Bookstore 


The fully Revised Edition of The South Seas just keeps on trucking. Over 80% new content and more pages added, it's basically a whole new edition, not just a revision. Want to sample a sneak peak and maybe even purchase? Well just click HERE

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

Gita Comes To Visit by craig levers

But Before Gita...

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Sitting firmly in the category of 'A voice for Print' the TV equivalent of 'A face for Radio' I was interviewed for Monocle's The Stack podcast a couple of weeks ago. Here's the link . Monocle is a shinning light of magazine success in a multimedia world, with a circulation of over 80,000 per issue. Founded by the same creator of WallPaper Magazine, Monocle have created a media hub of print, web based radio [that's the bit I'm on] and a fast evolving website. The formula is one I'm convinced would transfer to surfing. 

Boring huh? Well for me no, I'm still passionate about surf media and would love to see something like this in surfing. The interview touches on this conviction. Thanks to Clair Urbahn for the opportunity, and cleaning up my dribble into some sort of cohesiveness. 

Gita Was Here 

As Cyclone Gita glanced down the west coast of New Zealand surfers gleefully wrung their hands in expectation of what treats she'd bring. To be fair it was a quick and brief affair, but for those on the spot there were moments for sure. 


Early morning peaks


A Gita treat 


The two usual suspects were on hand; Bevan Wiig [above] and James Mcalpine [below] 


Bevan's class act


James setting


Matty Ziegler's rush hour


Bevan on a Pipe-esk set up


Bevan tucked and tapering 

From The Bookstore


Billy Stairmand married his love Liana last Friday above Raglan. It was an awesome day of family, friends, love and laughs.


And that is probably THE most tenious segue to NZ Surf; The Collection Vol 1  which of course [as illustrated above by Billy] has a great feature of the multiple National Champ in it. Wanna know more about this book? Well click here for the preview. We've only got 200 left!