Last month, TransWorld SURF had the full intention of running Kelly Slater on the cover. We sent senior photographer Jack English down to Puerto Rico like a terminating machine from the future with one prime objective: find Kelly Slater and get the money shot—of course, that all changed when we heard of the passing of Andy Irons. You've all probably seen the Andy Irons cover by now and now doubt been struck by it's iconic stature. Kelly, being his ever-gracious self, obviously had no problem with us giving Andy the cover in his place; in fact, Kelly would have demanded it.
But getting ten world titles still deserves a cover to say the least. So when this little gem of a shot came in, we knew we had our front page and Kelly Slater would get his cover. Here's how it happened…
"The contest ended and the weather and waves were crappy for two or three days", said cover shooter and ESM Photo Editor Nathan Adams. "I knew Kelly was still around, and of course, Dylan Graves and all the PR boys were still there, too—so I hung back for a few days to try to get some photos."
"This particular spot, called [black out name] requires a long hike through the jungle, and without a local guide, you'd never find it. Luckily, I was with Josie Graves and Brian Toth, so getting there was easy. On this morning, we woke up at 5:00 a.m., walked through the jungle in the dark, and basically were all in the water before the sun was up." says Nathan. "I shot for three hours, then the clouds came over and most everybody went in. Just as I was about to go in, I looked at the beach and Kelly was standing on the rocks. And I swear, the sun came out just as he hit the water. This was his third wave, and of course it was the wave of the day."
As usual, Kelly's good karma shines. The sun comes out, he gets the wave of the day, the photographer happens to be in the right spot, and a picture-perfect moment becomes a cover. We love you, Kelly.—Chris Coté
Also in this issue:
Surf Rail Of Death Part 2
A few years back we, along with the demented minds at Built To Shred, unleashed a metal monstrosity, daring surfers to 50-50 across it. It was cool, but we knew we had to a sequel—a heavier, nastier sequel. We made the second rail higher, longer, and way more dangerous. It broke boards, bruised pros, and had us laughing at the carnage. Check out some outtakes here.
Hurricane season is bittersweet for East Coasters. Hope and hype get built up with each named storm. Surfers swarm to intersect with predicted path, sometimes scoring, sometimes getting skunked. Other times, local windswell kicks up the session of the season with little warning. This year was a mixed bag and produced one of the best East Coast features we’ve seen in ages.
Hawaii Opening Kickoff
An early season Pipeline swell hammered the North Shore in November, check out the beginning of what’s looking (hoping) to be an amazing Winter.
Who’s Now/Who’s Next
Every year we pick out the best under 20 surfers on the planet and jump them into our Who’s Now/Who’s Next gang. This year’s crew is filled with a ton of talent, most of which are probably not on your radar yet. Check out the future of our sport and thank us later.
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