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Wavelength Magazine (Australia)

The Real Stories Behind The Internet's Most Viral Surf Shots

LUKE GARTSIDE
3RD NOVEMBER 2020

A little while back we set out on a quest to uncover some of the stories behind the internet’s most widely shared surf shots.

In the process of our digital sleuthery we discovered all sorts of intriguing tales of doctored lineups, forgotten surf trips, legendary characters and even an innovative approach to managing surf tourism.

Since then, we’ve stumbled across many more images doing regular rounds on the web that left us wondering about the folk featured and the circumstances in which they were taken. And so, last week we figured it was time for round two.

The series originally appeared on our Instagram, but we’ve pulled together each instalment for you here too:

 

This crazy snap by @clarklittle featuring @jonnycorrea1 in a Hawaiian spin-cycle.⁠

“This particular evening Pipeline was firing,” remembers Jonny, “proper six to eight-foot but extremely crowded, so I decided ‘screw the crowd,’ I’m going to go down to Keiki.” ⁠

Keiki shorepound is the favoured playground of young surfers looking to work on their air drops, bodyboarders looking for crazy sand-sucking caverns and shorebreak photographer Clark Little, who was already there that evening when Jonny arrived and wasted no time in telling him to get out there. ⁠

“I ran back as fast as I could,” Jonny continues, “but my heart was coming out of my chest. I knew it was going to be super heavy… I was shitting bricks!”⁠

For the first half-hour or so, he picked off a few smaller ones, with Clark egging him on from the impact zone. Then, as the sky began to darken, Jonny remembers turning to see a solid one looming outside. ⁠

”It was like a massive dark wall blocking my vision of the sky,” he says. “Suddenly, Shannon (a super respected local) and Clark were yelling their lungs out saying, “Go Jonny! Go get that fucker!” So I had no choice.”⁠

“Right before that flash went off I remember being in this massive cave, fully suspended in the air,” he says. ⁠

Then, a surging backwash collided with the pitching lip, slingshotting him out into a cartwheeling freefall, which ended with a thud down onto the barely covered sand bottom below. As soon as he popped up, he and Clark started screaming at each other through the almost darkness. They already knew they’d nailed something special. ⁠


Photo: @clarklittle

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