Ocean City based photog Will Hall was at Cloudbreak when it was going bonkers last year this time. Taj Burrow showed up on a yacht. Kelly Slater flew in on a helicopter. Pretty huge disparity between even privileged surf travelers and the top pros. But then again—big, thick Cloudbreak proves that some people are better than others at handling critical waves.
These photos got squashed by Quiksilver since Kelly was wearing some new boardshorts. Quiksilver never used them. Although some of these have appeared without Will’s knowledge in various media outlets during the year. A year later we present these truly incredible photos. See if you recognize some of images from Quiksilver’s current trunks campaign. Will is back in Fiji right now. I am sure we will see some more great photos soon.
All photos ©2011 Will Hall
My friend Tom has more fun than you.
One of my favorite surf sessions ever, and a story I have retold ad nauseum, is one that involves a bodyboarder and some closeouts.
Not just any bodyboarder, but my main man and roommate at the time, Tom Knopp. And not just any closeouts, but large, mean, clean, heaving, 25-block-long, hurricane closeouts right behind our house.
So no one was around. No one really wanted anything to do with it. Not because it was so scary. But because it was just not really fun.
You could rush and get the view for a second, but there was no real graceful way to bring your ride to an end. No matter what way you went, it was the wrong way.
So as we sat there an looked over ledge after ledge, and pulled back again again, Knopp waited for bombs and smirked as he spun and went into the oblivion.
What at first looked like just unrestrained stoke coupled with some optimistic aneurysm turned into a show of how functional aerial surfing could be. Right as you are ready to write him off and look away, down the beach a lot farther than you would have imagined, Knopp’s body would soar out of the lip, into the air—upside down sometimes—and reconnect with the falling lip before disappearing again.
We had a reunion recently, more than 20 years after that day. And I gotta say, all of those memories came rushing back. I was so stoked to see Tom doing his thing. Making the lackluster surf all of us older surfers grumble at, look fun. Just like that day in 1987 behind Our Place At The Beach with Ricky B and Chris Street. Every time you looked back, Knopp was smiling from ear-to-ear at the “less-than-perfect” waves.
Summer means going left for me.
And during a discussion with a friend, we joked about me not wanting to go on a surf trip unless I was going to go left. I am a goofy foot and I like lefts. But I realized that winter is the opposite, all rights, and sometimes you just gotta go backside. So here are a couple rights to get us all psyched for winter, who can’t come soon enough.