Surfer Magazine are running a 2011 Photo of the Year poll. Check out the photos and vote for your favourite on Facebook. Amongst the 25 entries are 13 photos by COTW featured photographers, including Chris Burkard (x5), Zak Noyle (x3), Morgan Maassen (x2), Tim Mckenna (x2), Todd Glaser (x2) and Nick LaVecchia.
The other nominated photographers are Pat Stacy (x2), Daniel Russo (x2), Alan Van Gysen (x2), Grant Ellis, Brad Masters, Jon Frank, and Timo Jarvinen. Congratulations also to surfer Nate Tyler who features in 3 of the photos, and also the incredible Teahupo’o (in Tahiti) as the wave of choice featuring in 7 of the 25 photos!
Photos and captions by Surfer Magazine…
2011 was certainly a good year to be in Tahiti. One of the best water photographers in the biz, Zak Noyle, left his home island of Oahu with a small crew bound for Teahupo’o. Talent is great when it comes to photography, but a little bit of luck never hurts either. Nature provided for this shot with a perfect peeling tube ridden by Christian Redongo, and the kind of rainbow that postcards are made of.
On the same wave that graced the cover of our December issue, Nathan Fletcher charges through a white explosion like a Milwaukee snowplow. Shockingly, this wasn’t the end of the heaviest wave of his life. Nathan made it past this monstrous foam ball and only fell after the bottom dropped out and left Nathan going mach-10 in mid-air. When Nathan saw the footage he was shocked. "I never knew that it looked like that," said Fletcher about the wave. "Thank God, I would’ve had a heart attack."
On a trip with Ben Bourgeois, Asher Nolan, and Zander Morton, Chris Burkard got a chance to photograph one of the dreamiest setups imaginable. This semi-secret Caribbean gem produces beautiful green tubes over a forgiving sandbar, which inspired Chris to get a little barrel view of his own. This image ran as the spread opener for our "Shit You Love" photo feature in June because there is simply nothing better than looking out of a tube and knowing that your friend is watching.
Nate Tyler and Chris Burkard have traveled the world over, but they both find some of their favorite moments along their home coast. "This is a Central California sunset, and a Central California surfer," says Chris Burkard about this shot of Nate. "Of all places I have traveled, the one I enjoy shooting the most is just miles from home."
During the filming of Mikey DeTemple’s film, Sight | Sound, a crew of surfers known for riding everything from 5’0" fish to massive noseriders went from the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean to the harsh and unforgiving shores of Canada. Here, filmmaker Mikey DeTemple takes a break from working behind the lens to trim across some a cold, pine-laden point.
With its wandering sacred cows, ancient temples, and the occasional painted elephant, there may be no stranger place to score surf than on the southern tip of India. But that is exactly what happened when Craig Anderson, Warren Smith, and Dillon Perillo showed up on the beaches of the subcontinent. Although the locals have been casting their fishing nets into these lineups for generations, this was the first time they’ve ever seen someone go for a full-rotation alley-oop.
Distance creates an illusion of placidity. Case in point, Tim McKenna’s aerial photograph of Teahupoo‘s elbow-shaped reef on a down day during this summer’s Billabong Pro Tahiti. Though this angle gives the South Pacific’s scariest ride the guise of manageability, from sea level, even a 6-foot day like this one is an exercise in controlled chaos, where disaster lurks just a few feet below the surface.
Nate Tyler and Sterling Spencer aren’t afraid to dabble in the strange, and when you combine that with the stifling heat and sauna-like humidity of Nicaragua, brains start to turn from hardened lobes to soft chunks of partially melted butter. Here, photographer Morgan Maassen saw an opportunity to capture a contemplative moment while the two surfers pondered existence in the oppressive climate.
When most surfers think of their dream surf trip, they usually don’t picture throwing on a 5/4 wetsuit with booties and gloves in Nordic waters. Luckily for Chris Burkard and a small crew of surfers, this meant that they had all of Iceland’s frigid perfection to themselves. Burkard spent his stay shooting perfect, empty lineups and some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that you could ever hope to find on a surf trip.
Setting the pace for a trip can sometimes be more work than you’d expect. "This session was a struggle," says photographer Morgan Maassen. "Warren Smith and I had met earlier that day at the airport and arrived in Byron Bay just as dusk fell. We jumped in the water with a plan to make something of the waning light, only to find a harsh crowd and a strong rip. But as the light all but disappeared, a window of opportunity opened on the inside of the sandbar. Warren saw it too. Within seconds he was flying through the air, ending the session, but starting the trip with a bang."
Nothing matches the calming effect of the underwater world. Even just a few feet below the surface things move in slow motion, colors are muted, hard edges become soft, and quiet envelopes everything. "I love this perspective because it gives surfers such a different view of what they normally see," says Zak Noyle, who spent an entire day swimming on the reef with just a camera and a pair of goggles. "There’s so much going on below the water that’s hidden to the viewer above, from how shallow the reef really is to the way that the wave barrels and turns inside out on itself below the surface. It’s so beautiful. I kept forgetting to come up for air."
Each winter, outer-island pros post up on Oahu’s North Shore in search of moments just like this. "It was one of the best couple days I’ve seen at Off The Wall over the last 10 years of living on the North Shore," recalls Kauai’s Stephen Koehne. "For some reason it was big, but really makeable… old school Off The Wall. This was one of the better waves I’ve ever had out there."
No matter how good the waves are that a surfer scores on a trip, no one surfs as good as they do on a fun day at their home break. "Nate Tyler grew up surfing near this old wooden pier," says Chris Burkard. "He has probably done a thousand turns like this without a surfer in sight, let alone a photographer. I always love shooting people on their home turf, especially with canvas as golden as this one."