Any young pro will tell you about an unspoken right of passage when you make your first trip to the North Shore. The seedy (but oh-so-enjoyable) gentlemen’s club Femme Nu has at one time or another been the destination for nearly every pro surfer to set foot on O‘ahu. Every year, the packs of older guys initiate their younger, less-experienced mates with a solid night in the infamous strip club.During the winter of 1992, Steve Sherman was on O‘ahu specifically to shoot ads for Rusty. Sherm came up with the Femme Nu idea and planned it for a late afternoon on a Wednesday in December. Sherm got permission from the club’s “Mamasan” (the club’s female boss) to shoot a few photos with four young surfers: Todd Chesser, Shane Powell, Pat O’Connell, and Taylor Knox.
“The day we chose turned out to be Shane Powell’s birthday. We literally had to pull him away from his mates and promise them we’d have him back in three hours. Shane Herring was pretty pissed to lose his mate to us on his birthday,” remembers photographer Steve Sherman. “When we got to the club, we were only allowed to shoot photos for one song. The boys just loved it. Imagine having the whole strip bar to you and three friends.”
“I remember that photo shoot,” laughs Pat O’Connell. “We used to go to Femme Nu so much back then. It was just another night. Set-up photo shoots are usually kind of weird, but this was fun. What else is there to say about a strip club? This was, what, twelve years ago? Shit, I’m old.”
“Back then Chesser was the ringleader of them all. He could always drink the most, charge the hardest, and piss the farthest,” smiles Sherman. “He had this amazing talent of being able to piss like fifteen feet. It’s cool to see all these guys together. They were all so tight back then. Powelly, Taylor, and Pat are still on the tour together. Chesser passed away a few years after this photo was taken. I love the photo because it shows why everybody loved Todd. Just look at the expression on his face–he’s a legend.”–C.C.