“F–k no! Are you kidding me?”
That's what photographer Dave Nelson said when I asked him if it was easy to hook up with Ratboy during photo sessions. Nelly should know, too; he's shot more photos of Rat than any photographer in Santa Cruz.
“We all met in the parking lot, and we saw the wispy clouds,” Nelly recalls about the evening he snapped the cover photo at a local spot called The Hook. “So Cory (Hansen, who's holding the remote flash in the photo) and I swam out to the Second Bowl, and Rat, Rocky, Omar, and those guys paddled out and kind of took over. It's a pretty crowded spot–there must have been 50 guys out. So I saw Rat coming down the line on this one, and I saw this section forming up right near me, so I just started swimming for it.”
“Rat refuses to force anything,” Nelly continues. “He surfs the wave, and he'll never pose out for a photographer … ever. Like if he sees a ramp up ahead, he's not gonna do a turn where you're swimming–he's gonna run as fast as he can toward it and fly right by you. But Rat's great to work with–he's really funny. It just depends on his mood, I guess. Sometimes he's in a great mood and he's awesome to be around, and other times he can be extremely eggy.”–J.P.