The North Shore of Oahu is famous for its incredible five-month winter. The “Seven Mile Miracle,” as the surf media has dubbed it, consistently produces Northern Hemisphere swells both large and raw. Our boy Nate left SWELL to tackle a late season pipe session, LEAF got the footage.
Nate: For a California native and avid surf traveler such as myself, Hawaii is a box I hope to check every winter season. The trip means that I will be driven out of my comfort zone and into the humbling world of a Haole on the North Shore. With each day I gain more confidence, become a little more of a familiar face and run into old friends at random moments. One day this past February, as I walked with my head down past all of the Pipe houses I look up to see my fellow Laguna Beach bro Jason Naude. Turns out he was on assignment for the week shooting photos of the Billabong Bloodlines Training Camp.
Later that day I met Jason up at the Billabong Off The Wall house, which was teaming with frothing grommets flown in from all over the world. The energy and fear in their eyes reminded me of what I felt in my first few seasons on the scary North Shore. Lucky for them Billabong coach Rainos Hayes broke down each surf spot and helped them ease into surfing the massive waves of the area. The next week saw a solid swell with nice conditions. I got some clips, the groms got some photos and experience, and Jason was blown away by how good these kids surf nowadays.
After the dust settled and we were both back in California I hit up Jason and asked him a few questions about photography and his “work” trip to the North Shore.
Nate: How old are you and what is your position at Billabong?
Jason: I’m 22 years old and I’m the product photographer at Billabong USA. I sometimes act as a second photographer for location shoots.
Nate: What drew you to photography? What excites you about photography?
Jason: I have always just really liked taking photos, I think it’s really fun. Photography gives me the ability to bring my unique view of the world forth through imagery. I get really stoked when someone sees a photo of mine and says, “Woah, I’ve never seen that before. That’s sick.”
Nate: Did you have a shot in mind going into the trip?
Jason: I had a few in mind, most were pretty typical shots that you think of when one goes to Hawaii, i.e. rainbows, gold sand, and sunsets, but I really wanted to get a shot of just a gnarly empty barrel.
Nate: What is it like shooting photos with a hundred other cameras around trying to capture the same moment? How do you set yourself apart?
Jason: It’s hard shooting with so many other photographers around. You think you have the perfect spot by yourself to shoot from and then the second you look up from behind the lens you realize that there are a million other photogs around you.
I try to set myself apart by getting as far away from the crowds as possible while still being able to get a good shot. Basically I use a really long lens.
Nate: Talk about shooting photos with a bunch of frothing 14-year-old groms.
Jason: Man, shooting with the groms was epic. They’re all so talented that it almost became difficult to know where to point my camera.
Nate: Who was the standout surfer of the Billabong Bloodlines Training Camp?
Jason: It’s hard to say, it was a lot of the groms’ first trip to the North Shore so there was a bit of time spent figuring out how not to get completely obliterated at Pipe and Backdoor. I’m not saying that none of the groms stood out, it’s just too hard for me to pick one. They all shred.
Nate: Any photo “tips” for aspiring photographers?
Jason: Be patient and don’t give up. Also, take photos you’re passionate about, because if you don’t it’ll show in your work, and if you do, it makes those photos that much more meaningful to you and the viewer.Thank you for visiting the Swell blog. Visit us on www.facebook.com/swell for more exclusive fan offers, giveaways and more.