It had been raining most of the night so when I woke up I figured the sea might have a little morning sickness and I best go check the point wave before getting my gear together. I stopped at Jim’s for a quick morning chat on my way and saw the first surfer paddle out and catch a ride in past the point. That was all I needed to see. I rushed back to camp, pulled on a wetsuit and headed to the point, leaving my camera behind thinking that the swell would build and there would be better pictures the next day.
The swell continued to build throughout the session which turned into something special when we were joined by a pod of dolphins. Only three guys out trading off waves with nature’s finest surfers, the magic of this place never stops. It was then that I regretted not having my camera with me, as I paddled back out to the line-up I saw Pablo catching a good set wave and coming down the face towards me with seven dolphins surfing the wave beside him. I would have been in the perfect position to capture the moment. The dolphins bid us farewell and swam off into the bay. A few more waves were traded between us surfers and then we finished the morning off with brunch at the Ride Hatteras camp.
I spent the afternoon lazing in the sun with Sam, contemplating and conflicted. I thought to myself that if there is one thing surf photography teaches you it is never wait or delay for next time as you never know what is going to present itself out there. Yet in the same thought I caught myself thinking that surfing teaches you that some moments are best captured in the mind and kept to oneself. It is like watching that perfect wave wash past unsurfed, part of you wants someone to be on it, perhaps you, while part of you is content just watching nature pass by unimpeded by humanity’s stamp.
As the afternoon faded away I was still caught by the thought of not waiting for tomorrow and remembered that last winter there were countless occasions when I would be sitting out in the line-up at the point during sunset in awe of the colours and reflections. The sun sets directly up the line from the point wave and illuminates the water in a rainbow of warm colours. I noticed some new clouds forming, the swell had been building and there had been talk of rain for the next few days. Now was the time. I grabbed my camera and a board and headed to the point. After surfing a handful of waves to myself, the sun had dropped low enough for the long, burnt orange colours to start showing. I caught one last wave in and traded my board for my camera, swimming out in the evening light. Surfing can be a soulful experience but swimming out there on my own in that light with the clouds adding mood and nature’s best surrounding me, I can only describe it as spiritual. Just when I thought the session couldn’t get any more intense I caught the dolphins out of the corner of my eye and spun around just in time to get a single shot. I came out of the water on a high, a buzz that is tough to describe, I just knew I had experienced something special, nature had put on her best show for me. Shooting with a waterhousing is like shooting with film as you cannot really review your shots until you are out of the water and have the camera out of the case, so it is rare to get this many fantastic shots in one session. I actually struggled to whittle it down to these. If you would like any of these on canvas, check out the surfline gallery or get in touch and ask for a hi-res copy.