Hawaii has been on my go to list for as long I can remember and finding myself in Japan last year about to over-stay a 3 month tourist visa it was great to find a cheap and quick flight going from Osaka to Honolulu. Killing two birds with one stone, I embarked on a spontaneous 3 month island hopping journey to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Surfing is one of the most popular sports in Hawaii and most likely originated in Polynesia as early as the 12th Century, cave paintings there show people riding on waves more than 800 years ago! In the course of seafarings, Polynesians brought surfing to Hawaii and the sport went viral.
Big surf in Hawaii typically comes in winter and the end of my 3 month trip coincided with the start of the 2019 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition on the north shore of Oahu island. Not knowing much about surf culture or the competition scene I thought I would just be able to rock up and shoot the pros doing their stuff. In practise, it turned out not to be so easy. Even though I knew the location and dates of the venue it wasn’t like a normal sports event that starts at a set time on a particular day. Surfing is at the mercy of the tides and swells which change every day, and due to this the event lasts for a whole week with competition times being decided at the last minute – it wasn’t that easy to know when the big boys would be riding.
I only had 3 days on the north shore of Oahu before my flight back to Japan and I spent a good few hours walking up and down the beach looking for the best place to photograph the action. Unfortunately the pros were all surfing quite far out on a reef break and even though I had my Canon 100-400mm lens, a great sharp lens for the price, it was still too far away for me to photograph properly. Dedicated surf photographers often have much bigger lenses 600mm, 800m and upwards!
Luckily everyone gets a chance to surf the same waves (just a bit further down the beach) and this shot is just a ‘regular’ guy having fun on a shore break a mere 20 meters away from the beach. It was great to be able to see these surfers close up and shoot away while they were doing some impressive tricks. In future I would plan more time and stay for the whole competition to get images of the pros but it was still a good taster of this fantastic and photogenic sport.
See all of the images from Christian Kober’s Hawaii trip here https://www.awl-images.com/search?s=kober+and+Hawaii