|The Machine - Guilherme Tamega|
That was the best EL Gringo I have seen, and one of the most enjoyable events to shoot from the water.
Guilherme Tamega in the Final
I knew the swell was growing all day and that it would be hard to get everyone's waves on film if I shot from a ski, there is not alot of room to manoeuvre around in the small channel which ended up closing out as the Semi Finals started.
So i shot from a board and all in all I think it was the best decision, I was lucky enough to get some nice shots and I didnt get hurt.
I did get pretty beaten on one wave though. It was during the Ben Player and Dave Winchester Semi Final. I had just got back into the water after changing the battery on my wireless transmitter and within 15mins the swell had jumped in size really fast.
I remember just hearing Ben yelling out and then seeing the jetski takeoff, as i got over the wave infront of me I could just see the horizon coming straight for me, the only thing i could do is paddle straight for it and i thought about duck diving with my camera and board but as the lip started to pitch i thought nup, bail the board and go as deep as possible (my camera and housing weighs about 15kgs).
The lip pretty much landed right ontop of where i went under and I managed to get reasonably deep before the impact, but the huge volume of water just pulled me back and sucked me over under water. You can just make out in the photo below my blue TURBO IV board just about to get lipped.
|I left my poor board on the surface, lucky i had a boardingSNAX leash. photo/Luiz Felipe|
It rolled me in all directions upside down back to front and then back again, my fins got ripped off my feet (luckily i tie them to my ankles), my hood got pulled over my face and for a moment my housing was bashed out of my hands, somehow it came back to my hands while underwater in the washing machine.
While all this was going I remember thinking shit if there is another wave after this one im going to be washed up on a section of rocks at El Gringo called "tortuga" or turtle, because it looks like a giant turtle shell and if you wipeout at El Gringo the current washes you straight to the turtle.
As soon as i reached the surface I threw my hands in the air to let the Jetski driver know I need help. Then I saw the second wave, so i quickly grabbed my leash which had triple its length as it was stretched from the force of the wave, and pulled my board towards me, quickly jumped on it and paddle with my fin less feet, that is like having plastic bags tied to your feet!
I dont really remember the second wave, i think it was the adrenaline im not sure, but somehow i got under the next wave relatively easy.
The horizon was calm again, I took a deep breath and just felt my body rushing, pumping, full of energy, i knew i had escaped a pretty hectic situation, I felt very lucky, thankful and stoked. Then I continued to film the rest of the event in the growing swell and watch the worlds best bodyboarders push the sport up to another level. It was inspirational to see these guys pushing each other and themselves in such beautiful big perfect waves.
Ben Player rode some amazing Green El Gringo barrels
This is pretty much why I live and love shooting in the water.
Happy Days and thanks to mother nature for sharing such powerful energies.
|Me hiding amongst the crowd|
Below are the Daily clips that the IBA MEDIA TEAM (im lucky enough to be apart of) produced during the event
The Arica Chilean Challenge 2011
El Gringo Freesurf with Jeff Hubbard & Friends
Trials Day 1
Trials Day 2
Trials Finals & Round 1
The Keyhole with Dave Hubbard
Rider Downtime Before The Main Event with Damian King
Catching Up with Mitch Rawlins - The Trails Event Winner
Congratulations Guilherme Tamega