For just about every surfer on the face of the earth, Hawaii, and specifically the North Shore of Oahu, is where it’s at.
From the earliest age most of us are bombarded with images and stories from the joint also known as The Rock. Often the images are of massive waves and the stories typically reference heavy locals and oddly enough, a little frame of mind known as Aloha.
But those images and stories came from somewhere right? Yep, photographers and writers have also been heading to Oahu since the first wave of nut jobs crashed the party way back in the 1950’s. The first grainy images and stories of Greg Noll and his buddies charging Waimea set forth a pattern that has been repeated ever since.
Every Hawaiian winter, November through to February, hordes of photographers and writers descend on The Rock to document the shenanigans and cast an impression on the very impressionable minds of surfers everywhere.
This year, Victoria’s Ed Sloane took the plunge…
Expect imagery like this to come out of Ed's Trip.
Q) Ed, first trip to Hawaii? What was going through your head on the flight over?
Ed) Yep, this is my first trip and as you’d expect I was pretty excited. It’s taken me 29 years to get to the North Shore so there’s a lot imprinted in my head about this place. I feel like I know the place well from all the editorial over the years but what I’ve found difficult, something I think most people grapple with, is how fluky the surf can be. It seems like one hour it’s pumping the next it’s not, though we haven’t had any real A+ days yet. I’m here for a month with the ASP covering the first two Vans Triple Crown Events, Haleiwa and Sunset, following that I’m freelance covering the Pipe Masters.
Q) Sounds sweet, so what are some of your impressions of the place? Did it stack up to what you imagined it to be?
Ed) I didn’t expect it to be so busy here…it’s packed! I’ve also never been to the U.S before so it’s been fun dealing with all these little cultural things, particularly when buying food. I’ve been mistaken for being Scottish twice now but maybe the reddish beard is to blame for that, haha! The surf was a big shock as well, the day I arrived was 12ft-15ft and I went down to Pipe right before sunset and it pretty much blew my mind, Backdoor looks so much heavier than in all the videos and photos I’ve ever seen.
Q) There’s been a bit of swell since you got there, what’s the vibe like when it’s pumping over there?
Ed) The only real swell so far was right off the bat and I was so busy with the Haleiwa contest that I didn’t even really pick up on the vibe other than everyone was stoked to be surfing some power for the contest. I’ve definitely heard that the crowd has exploded since the start of the Triple Crown, it must be hard for the locals who wait all year for this surf then it gets busy on the first swell!
Q) Anything trip you out?
Ed) Err…the girls on the beach, haha!
Q) From a photographer's point of view, Hawaii's one of those spots that’s had more than a few lenses pointed at it over the years, is it hard to get a new angle on the place? Is that what you're trying to do?
Ed) That’s a good question. I know some guys who just don’t ever want to bother with it here because it’s all been done. I like to think it hasn’t all been done and there’s always a new angle but here it almost has been covered. I’m always on the lookout for shots that don’t age and I know it’s cliché to use the word timeless but if you can produce an image that is like that, the uniqueness of it is kind of irrelevant. My focus here so far has been to cover the contests and that’s where I’m at right now. When they’re over I’ll be putting a lot of energy into free surfing and the lifestyle around Pipe and that’s going to be fun but my expectations are realistic about “new angles”.
Q) And speaking of images, every kid who surfs has an image of Hawaii burned into their brain from the earliest of age, like the one of Brock Little at Waimea or Gerry Lopez at Pipe. What about you?
Ed) Yeah totally, when I was a kid I had a laminated poster of a brand called Local Motion, it was a super wide panoramic image of Pipe and it stayed above my bed for years. It was a timeless shot of really raw power in perfect light.
Interview By Anthony Pancia.