Snippets on Snapping
No-one can deny that official PWA Photographer John ‘JC’ Carter’s snaps are razor sharp and timed to perfection. In fact, any budding lens masters could do worse than study Carters work, and learn from his tips below. Relentlessly primed and ready to go, ‘Shooter’, is swift on the draw to capture the action. I just bet he wishes his golf swing was so smooth and silky…
The Best Shots…
…need some sort of impact that make you want to keep looking at them time after time. For me that’s either a massive manoeuvre, or a shot with a dramatic wave or background.
Obviously if you have all those things combined with beautiful evening light then you’re onto something. It’s pretty hard to achieve all the ingredients all at one time though!
Scoring a unique angle can also produce great shots. Mast mounted cameras often look different or when a photographer goes miles out of his or her way to find a shot...maybe by walking around a headland for a new angle or heading out in big surf on a jet ski. It’s all about doing something different!
The best performers?
It’s impossible to narrow it down. With the standard so high there are so many guys ripping out there.
It all depends on where you are! ...out in Maui guys like Josh Angulo, Levi Siver and Kauli Seadi are amongst the ones who can produce the explosive moves in normal Ho'okipa conditions, while the likes of Robby Naish, Robby Seeger and Jason Polakow push the limits when the waves are massive.
When it comes to jumping Victor Fernandez, Boujmaa and Kevin Pritchard can all produce some big and exciting manoeuvres, but, in places like Pozo it’s a different ball game with Dunkerbeck, Jonas Ceballos and Vidar Jensen all capable of producing that amazing move which people remember for years!
In the freestyle it has to be Ricardo Campello, The Frans brothers and Golito. These guys are all sensational to watch and incredible to photograph.
Let’s not forget the girls! The Moreno twins, Karin Jaggi, Nayra and Anne Marie are ripping in all conditions while Sarah Quita seems to be the new queen of freestyle!
Taking a great shot…
…is all about being in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. That’s where the decision is tough! Where’s the right place to be? And what lens set up should you be shooting with? Once you have that all figured out you’re halfway there. Sometimes the best shots are freaks...i.e. a crash, a bail-out or monster jump out of nowhere. One thing I’ve realized is that you can’t shoot every single move that happens unless you stick in one place all day long...but then your shots are going to look a bit boring. You have to make the odd sacrifice to get something different. One beautiful water shot can be worth a thousand land shots all from the same angle!
The Best Disciplines?
Every discipline presents a different challenge. That’s part of the attraction of photography. Every given day you are working you rock up at the beach and you are presented with a situation that you have to make the best of. Obviously waves are the most exciting discipline to shoot but when its blowing 40 knots and its balls to the wall slalom that can be fun too.
Maui is always a productive place to be as most of the pro's live there and there is a good variety of conditions. I usually head out there at least twice a year and come back with a stack of decent material.
Why photography? Why windsurfing?
After I quit my original job working in the Post Office I got the travel bug. I spent a year backpacking round Australia, six months in the United States and then a few months in the Far East. During that time I bought a decent SLR camera and spent most of my time on the road taking pictures.
In 1989 my best friend Nigel Howell became British windsurfing champion and managed to persuade his sponsors to pay for my ticket to Maui. After that things just kind of snowballed and I eventually fell into a job where I could travel and get paid for it. My personal windsurf skills are minimal! I can just about go in a straight line and waterstart but that’s about it!
© PWA / Brian McDowell