Apparently the guys name is Neil. And from what I know, he’s a Yallingup (Taj Burrow’s West Oz home town) local and good friends with T.B. and the surf photographer known as Twiggy. In the upcoming issue of TW SURF, there’s a story about a little session T.B. set up with helicopters and the place was at Supertubes. Twiggy’s the guy who pretty much gets all the insane photos of Taj at Super’s and he was out Tuesday shooting from a little Skiff (small boat) called “Dunga. Neil is the proud owner of Dunga.
Despite double-overhead sets and a not-so-certain channel, Twiggy, Neil, and Dunga were moving in and out, dodging large sets, snacking on crackers, talking with the boys, and getting shots of massive barrels that were for the most part too steep for the surfers to get into.
Everyone was getting smashed. Every now and then someone like Dan Ross, Kieren Perrow, Taj, Damon Harvey, and 6’4 Tom Innes would beat the drop and stand up in a thick-ass dredger. Neil and Twiggs were right there. Eventually the two threw out a rope and dragged Ross and Burrow into the best shacks of the day. To me, the sight of a little skiff with two blokes dragging T.B. into waves was one of the coolest things I’d seen so far this trip.
I also found out that Neil likes to take Dunga into waves by himself and has flipped it a couple times—I love West Oz.
Tuesday was the kind of day everybody talked about “yesterday. “Yeah, Jake Paterson was getting bombs at North Point. “Supertubes stayed good all day. Just some of the examples of what people say when they see each other around here.
Although the swell is dropping, it’s still big—especially at the contest site for the Salomon Margaret River Masters.
Thanks to the good people at Discovery channel, I’d watched a documentary about sharks in the morning and how they attack if the waters dark and so on. Wednesday morning, under gray skies, Kieren and Dan Ross wanted to shoot The Box. Gray skies means gray water. I used a board—a very big board to shoot photos from because you know I ain’t dangling my body out there. The session was cut fairly short due to onshore wind and only included Kieren, Rossy, Gavin Beschen, Nick Wallace, Chris Ward, and a couple of locals. As usual, the drops were hairy and the reef was dry at times.
As I sat there between sets I could see the ten to twelve foot sets still pouring in at the contest across the way. It’s not your usual contest because it’s constantly giant and guys ride guns during their heats. Dane Reynolds was telling me how his buddy Kai Ellison was in a heat and sitting way out back when a giant set came in, cleaned him up, broke his leash, and took his board in the rip. It’s really hard to surf out there let alone shred a contest.
Last night, Salomon had a barbecue at Dave MacAulay’s house overlooking the bay at Gracetown and the famed North Point wave there. In case you don’t remember, Dave’s a former top-sixteen surfer who’s a living legend here in West Oz. Even at the age of 40 he wins local contests and is a contender at the Salomon Margaret River Masters. He’s also an incredible shaper who’s a big part of the Salomon program. Cruising through his house is like cruising through a surfing museum. There are numerous trophies and photos all over the place. Trophies like a runner-up bell from the Bells contest in 1981 and photos of a mansion-sized barrel from a break right near his house.
Today, everyone, and I mean everyone, went to the beachbreaks near Margaret River. At one spot, there were probably 50 surfers and eight water photographers swimming, but it was pretty damn fun. The place has clear green water, a sand bottom, and hollow-ass dredgers. It’s been in numerous magazines for years and is the surfing equivalent of a studio—it’s that good.
When not shooting, the surfers are surfing heats at the contest and the WCT guys in it are starting to showw. The waves are supposed to be good for it so look for an update soon.—Aaron Seppowood