Here is an eclectic selection of images from my month of January… most of which was spent in the water, of course. A mix of GoPro and DSLR images from a few days spent in Kauai, Oahu, and the rest on Big Island. Enjoy!
Welcome to Yanuca Island! Home to a quaint strip of shell-ridden beach line, lofty palm trees, and crystal clear water. Alison and I spent about two weeks soaking in some sun, exploring the island, meeting the villagers of the other side, filming a short piece on a day in the life of one of the firewalkers, and of course, surfing a sweet left-hander on the outskirts of the lagoon.
I thought I was going to go crazy when we first arrived at the most landlocked location on the north island of New Zealand – Blue Duck Station. 10 days away from the ocean!? Sounds great! I don’t think I have ever had a better landlocked experience. No sarcasm intended.
The first morning, Alison and I got up for a new kind of dawn patrol: a 2 hour horse trek up the highest mountain on the station. Imagine inhaling some of the cleanest air in the world, sharing Clif bars and apples with a cowboy (and his horse) for breakfast, and watching the fog dissipate over 5,000 acres of pristine native bush and ranch land as the sun rose to heat up the day. This one will rank high in my list of top 10 sunrises for a long time.
After that first morning, we were hooked … dawnies just about every morning. It was amazing to wake up (usually before 5am) and not feel sleepy or groggy … at all! Could be the lack of air pollution, or because we were so excited for the new adventures every morning, or because maybe this place is just way too magical.
It was absolutely revitalising, not only to be surrounded by bush and ranch land, but also by spending a concentrated amount time around a highly passionate person, who was so tuned in with the present moment and making the most out of what was at hand. Chad is the man. He was someone you couldn’t help but get inspired by being around, as he so passionately (and patiently) shared so much of himself and his “job” with Alison and I. Chasing cattle down steep hills, mustering stray shrek sheep, breaking in horses … none of these experiences (or photos!) would have been possible without him.
The last night, our dawn patrol craze nearly got out of hand. It was someone’s crazy idea to shoot a night scene at “The Depot,” a 200+ year old structure with a fire pit, cobblestone flooring, and hand-hewn walls, AND get up before sunrise to shoot one last interview on the top of the mountain. (The Depot was used back then as a storage house where settlers of the land would come to collect their supplies and mail that were boated in from a river connected to the sea). Exhausted, we ended up stoking the fire as high as we could and sleeping all spooned up together (it was freeeezing!), beneath layers of plastic bags, jackets, and a deer hide. Tempur-Pedic cobblestone mattress, anyone? It felt like such a luxury, finding a spare life jacket to use as a pillow. 3 hours later, it was raining. I was ready to call it quits and head back to a comfy warm bed and steamy shower but Alison, persistent as ever, wouldn’t give this this last dawn patrol up. We made it to the top, the rain cleared, and the sunrise was brilliant. Such a unreal morning.
Blue Duck Station is amazing. The owner, Dan, and his employees, are doing a fantastic job at preserving the native bush land and keeping their operations green and sustainable in a practical manner. Definitely a place that seems to be leading by example. Check out Alison’s blog on our experience at Blue Duck Station here: www.alisonsadventures.com
Hopped off to New Zealand for 3 weeks, for some more projects with Alison’s Adventures. Some of the highlights included digging holes and basking in the heat pools at Hot Water Beach in Hahei, after a chilly sunset kayak, staying at Karioi Lodge in Raglan, and shooting with Daniel Kereopa, a New Zealand surf legend and extraordinary waterman. For a more detailed overview, check out Alison’s blogs at www.alisonsadventures.com.
Cockatoo Paul is your ultimate Australian bushman. He’s a one man band that can do anything and everything. You wouldn’t be able to walk 1 meter with him through the “weeds” in your backyard, before he would be stopped dead in his tracks, turning over some leaves, which he would then tell you the scientific name of, and what they could be used for, whether medicinal, poisonous, or edible.
An early morning adventure down to Waipio Valley. Wave size, glassy conditions and swell direction were a sweet, pre-sunrise surprise, but absolutely impractical to shoot in the water with the ripping currents and overhead, picture-perfect barrels breaking over 5ft of water and sand.
A week on Oahu … spent eating delicious poke bowls, sleeping on multiple floors, avocado toast, bbq’s, polo, meeting new people, trespassing in a sunflower field, encounters with Wahaiwa’s finest on THEBUS, hiking Koko Head barefoot, eating Costco samples for dinner, 2 hours in traffic from town for 30 minutes of north shore sunset, hot tub hopping in Waikiki, and being a tourist at the new Aulani resort. Of course, none of those activities were photographed but the less-exciting ‘meantime’s were:
It’s funny how when the summer turns on, it really turns ON. The remainder of November consisted of meagre surf stifled by onshore winds, crowded beaches, 4:30AM sunrises, dealing with my wallet getting stolen then returned, spontaneous outings, and packing up to leave.
I’ll never forget (most) of the amazing people I’ve met over here, the adventures we’ve shared, and all the silly things we’ve done.
Can this semester in OZ get any better?! Spring break week hit and I headed down to Melbourne, Victoria to explore the city for a few days before meeting with uni friends in Ocean Grove. Couchsurfed the first night then was literally adopted by Josh Janssen & his girlfriend, Bri for the rest of my stay. Also had the opportunity to attend Semi-Permanent, thanks to Josh via Melbourne Geek. Had such a great few days and felt so blessed to be in the company of such amazing and talented people. :)
The weekend couldn’t have gotten any better after this visit to Byron Bay, couchsurfing with some uni friends and sunrise shooting with our wonderful host, Dan. Check out his photoblog on Byron and his travels around the world!
1st week in Australia! Everyone who was part of Australearn started up in Cairns for the “bridging cultures program” which included orientation lecture sessions, day trips to a wildlife zoo, beach clean-up, and swimming around small slice of paradise in the great barrier reef.
Studying at Griffith University in the Gold Coast. Welcome to the cubicle:
We camped on a cliff next to a small fisherman’s village above a (potentially) epic right point-break. The S swell never hit like we had hoped, but it sure was an adventure to crave for again.
Ruby summation of our adventure:
“after camping in mexico for three days, being the designated spanish speaker and raw meat handler, encountering the cops, and surviving a flat tire, we all decided to bargain some ponchos and a full blown hammock on the freeway of oncoming traffic in tj on our trek back to the states. we survived. and celebrated. how? BOBA. so after a hyper rampage post boba tea upon our arrival in san diego i had an educational dancing sesh informing all how to accurately dance to shakira’s “africa (waka waka)” song at a gas station. this youngster to my left’s hips did not lie.”
Drove up to Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur for 2 nights to do some set stills for “Lions Among Men,” a Chapman University Senior Thesis directed by Traci Hays and shot by Greg Cotten. Absolutely epic location.
Quick adventure to Joshua Tree. We all left Orange at 10pm, found a spot at 12am, set up some cameras, and tried to sleep in 26˚. Frozen toes. The next morning we left just after sunrise, hit up an AWESOME vegetarian cafe, Natural Sisters Cafe, and made it back to Orange by 10:30am.
Pretty obvious that it wasn’t the best season to take surf photos in Bali. They weren’t as substantial as I had hoped for, but it was still tons of fun to shoot in the warm warm water. Uluwatu’s rip current blows.
Epic moped trip up to Ubud: Mopeds were $5 per day, farmer tan sunburns, multiple petrol fill-ups on the side of the road, monkey attacks at Monkey Temple, sweet deals on clothes/souvenirs, getting ripped off by police, and the best chicken satay ever at a random place on the side of the road.
Since I had 4 days left before I had to be back in California, I flew over to Bali with my friend, Tim. We stayed at an AMAZING place: Rapture Surf Camps. If you’re ever down in Bali and want to stay at an awesome surf camp, check them out.