Rob Hutchinson: Behind The Shot
"Honoured you ran my B&W pic of dear Wayne saluting the tube. Geez, we're gonna miss him..."
So went the email received by photographer Rob Hutchinson the day after Swellnet bid Wayne Deane farewell. Included in the story was a photo of Deane saluting a north coast rivermouth. That's the caption to the photo as it appeared in print: "In the spirit of surfing Wayne Deane salutes a North Coast river mouth".
The publication was Nat Young's Surfing and Sailboard Guide to Australia where it got a double-page spread and imprinted itself on surfers of the era.
The river mouth was the Tweed Bar and below Rob recalls a bit more about the session:
"It was a winter's dawn back in the early-80s. I arrived early to see some very solid rights breaking out near Tweed Bar and a solitary surfer bobbing up and down with the swells."
"Wayne Deane had paddled out, probably in the dark, for the expected peak of the swell and the limited offshore window. I watched him ride one and it looked so special, I quickly set up the tripod, camera and telephoto lens to record it."
"Chappy Jennings sidled up just as Wayne paddled into this bomb, he flowed through several deep turns and snaps, then disappeared deep inside the barrel before casually exiting. 'The General' and I just looked at each other momentarily dumbstruck with what we'd witnessed. Deaney's positioning and timing was so sublime; ocean and human completely in synch."
"Within the hour the wind had swung onshore with rain squalls. Gone, but not forgotten."
"'The Salute'" was published in 1986 by Nat Young in one of his books where he described Wayne as embracing the true spirit of surfing. I bumped into Wayne out at good Kirra soon after. He humbly said he recalled the photo and thanked me."
"Later when a set wave feathered out on the reef, he called me onto it even though he was sitting a good ten metres inside of me. He was generous and he was genuine."