Death of the icons

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Exactly fifty years ago today, 4th December 1969, Greg Noll caught the largest wave he'd ever ridden. It was at Makaha during one of the largest swells in history.

Borne of a deep Aleutian low, the swell struck Hawaii's North Shore late on the 3rd, and by the next morning the North Shore was unrideable. Emergency services blocked access routes across the island, yet Noll managed to cross to Makaha on Oahu's West Side.

Considered Hawaii's original big wave spot, by '69 Makaha had been dethroned by Waimea. Yet on that day fifty years ago, Makaha was holding its shape and Noll, Fred Hemmings, Bobby Cloutier and a few others paddled out.

In a 1987 interview with Matt Warshaw, Noll reconstructed the moment:

"I drove over there and it was absurd - it was probably 10' bigger than any day I'd ever surfed Waimea. It was breaking so far outisde it was ridiculous...it was one of those situations where you really don't know if you want a wave or not because your chances were somewhere in the neighbourhood of...well, the way I figured it, it was about one-out-of-three you were going to die."

Noll further elaborated on the day, how the swell drew a line in the sand for many surfers, how some of them were "whining and crying" in the lineup before he paddled further outside, as much to get out of earshot as to pack a beast, and as he stroked out a wave stood up in front of him.

"I went straight down on the sonofabitch and it folded for three blocks in front of me - and like I say, it was probably 10' bigger than the biggest wave I'd ever ridden. It was so far out there were no pictures taken of it."

That wave became a device for Da Bull to sign off on his big wave career, telling Warshaw, "I'd just ridden the biggest wave I'd ever surfed - by far - and I figured if I wanted to keep doing this shit, well, I was gonna end up six-feet under."

It was fitting and convenient - a perfect stage exit. Noll wound up his big wave career, sold his surf shop, and moved to northern California to fish. Meanwhile, Over the years, Noll's wave grew in stature and significance. Up until the tow era it was considered the largest wave ridden.

In 2011, Australian journalist Kirk Owers wrote an article for Tracks titled 'The Photo That Doesn't Exist'. It's not often surf journos get to play the role of gumshoe detective, but that's just what Owers did as he uncovered a photo, a whole sequence in fact, of Noll's 'undocumented' wave and found it came up well short of Noll's verbal account (see images above and below).

However, rather than use it as a gotcha moment against the great man, Owers put the twin notions of storytelling and charisma up to the light and gently turned them around.

"I sat on the story for a while," writes Owers, "read Noll’s biography and decided I like him immensely. It’s not just his big wave feats or that he engenders so much respect from so many surfing greats. It’s his emotional connection to the ocean and to riding waves that sings for me." Of course, he learns of Noll's emotional connection via his storytelling.

Owers comes to the conclusion that stories and myths make surfing more interesting, and it's hard to disagree.

Sean Doherty came to a similar conclusion in a 2016 column in Surfing World titled 'End of Story: How Computers are Killing Your Heroes". Always incisive, Doherty argues that saturation documentation leaves no wriggle room; no space where "the facts are rubbery and the story naturally embellishes and romanticises and coats itself in a fine crumb of bullshit as time rolls on."

On 4th December 1969, Alby Falzon parked up in a Makaha apartment and photographed every wave ridden, including Noll's sign off, shown here (Alby Falzon)

I mention these articles to you now, not just due to the fifty year annivsersary, but also because of a recent conversation I had with a surf photographer about a fading trend: the iconic surf photo.

"Where are they?" my photog friend mused. "Curren's Backdoor cutback, Carroll's snap at Pipe. Where are the modern equivalents of those iconic photos?"

It's a great question and if you spend any time thinking about it you'll also ponder the changing nature of media.

In 1969, the surf media was so scarce that surfers could literally construct their own iconic moments - as Greg Noll did - embellished to entertain and to enlighten.

Yet if Noll's wave was ridden in 2019 it would've been covered from every angle, land, sea, and air. It would be online before he towelled off, and the public would be the arbiters of the moment and what it meant.

Somewhere in between 1969 and 2019, in between scarcity and abundance, lay the ideal system for the creation of iconic surf photos: limited photographers relying on equally limited press. Enough technology to capture the image, but with enough empty space around the edges for storytellers to romanticise or contextualise them. Add to that, monthly print runs providing further space for dissemination and appreciation; time enough for images to be seared into memory.

Would Tom Curren's cutty have the same impact if, say, he did it half an hour ago and you just saw three different versions on Instagram? After all, it's the story of that board, the logoless MC reverse vee, that elevates the image.

If surfers once had free reign to construct their own stories, now their input is incidental to the imagery. Imagery that is instant and abundant. There's no time for a story to be told, and no space for it amongst the waterfall of content.

Of course, iconic photos still occur, though the last one I can think of is Brian Bielmann's shot of Nathan Fletcher at Teahupoo. Or maybe Healey's board at Cloudbreak. In both instances we needn't know anything more for the picture to be completed. Nothing complementary is required for the viewer to be impressed. We don't need to hear Fletcher or Healey's stories.

If this all sounds like future-fearing, another rant at the evils of technology, then it's not intended. Consider it a curious poke at the changing media landscape.

Comments

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 8:13am

Gary’s words are worth a thousand pictures

I’ve created a monster. Cause nobody wants to ride faceys no more, they want Gary; I’m chopped liver.

But if ya want Gary this is what I’ll give ya: a little creatine kiss from a hard licker

Jaydos's picture
Jaydos's picture
Jaydos commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 8:22am

Not sure who took it but the photo of Craig Anderson at maxing Kandui on a 5'4" Hypto is another recent iconic photo that comes to mind..

Jayden

marcus's picture
marcus's picture
marcus commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 9:52am

What? How is that iconic?

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 8:42am

Bit of a yeah nah for me.
Yeah, iconic shots are becoming thin on the ground, but iconic shots become that way by consensus - we all agree on what's hot.

Surfing is so fractured, hipsters, loggers, comp goons, that its impossible to speak across the sport.

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 8:43am

I think we can all agree on the Ando shot though.

marcus's picture
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marcus commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 10:01am

Nope. Maybe the video makes it look like any good day at g land

i remember the internet when it was just for inteligent people but.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 8:54am

Made Switra arching through a blue Padang barrel.

Good article, Stu. Another one.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:00am

Jamie Mitchell paddling into Belharra, both the pics and the vid footage. There's something about the wind and the light that adds epicness to an epic feat.

Otherwise, iconic images now exist in the world of memes and quick jokes, such as the lady who put her fins in backwards at the Bali comp: iconic sign of the times.

dastasha's picture
dastasha's picture
dastasha commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:04am

Maybe its got something to do with the ubiquity of video.
Laurie Towner at Fiji does it for me.

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:18am

Agree about video, which a lot of time shows photos to be a lie - despite the old adage.

In the mid 80s a photo of US east coast surfer Matt Mondragon was taken at inside sunset and landed covers of both Surfer and Surfing, and also ran prominently in (I think) ASL. It was an iconic photo. One of the most technically perfect ever taken. Chris Cote even mentioned on the webcast the other day.

But the video of that wave would barely make the highlights reel in the WSL post show.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:19am

There was a zoomed out version, which showed Tom Carroll dropping in. No joke!

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:24am

Now that's the iconic shot!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:44am

You probably have the magazine, Stu. Surfer or Surfing?

Cover was the zoomed in one, but inside was the full version, including a story about how TC didn't want to let a good wave go to waste.

In today's media world we would have know whether he was justified or just being a greedy pig :-)

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:50am

Excellent. I'll dig it out this afternoon.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:57am

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:24am

Fark, I have that issue somewhere. I'll have to dig it out.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:40am

Sick shot!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:45am

Yep, I had that one blue-tacked to my bedroom wall.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:49am

There's another of it as a double spread in a compilation mag from the early 00s as well, I think - just the image, no bling. It's in a box in the garage somewhere....

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:24am

IB, see photos below. 

Ran 'em down there so I could go full width.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Sunday, 8 Dec 2019 at 9:02am

TC dropping in? No could never happen.

blackers's picture
blackers's picture
blackers commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:18am

Laird, Millenium wave.

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:19am

Video was a serial killer.

lolo's picture
lolo's picture
lolo commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:43am

I think you're missing the point of what an iconic photo really is. They're not a dime a dozen. If there's an "iconic" photo turn up on an Insta feed every month is it really iconic? People have listed a few from the last decade or two - the ones that really stand out from the oversaturated pack.

No doubt the needle has moved from quality towards quantity to keep everyone's Insta and FB feeds chugging along, but they're still out there waiting to be taken. They just need the perfect alignment of waves, wind, light, surfer and photog all at once.

Be patient!

Graeme Murdoch's picture
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Graeme Murdoch commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:33am

Often when I see a seagull, I try to imagine my reaction if it was the most rare bird in the world. How astonished I would be at its incredible pristine whiteness! I'd walk around for the rest of the day in a daze, buzzing at the beauty of that creature, the privilege! etc... but cos they're all over the shop it's like, yeah... big deal...

Baron von Spatula's picture
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Baron von Spatula commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:11pm

recently been spying an albino magpie in my locale... now that's a beautifully, albeit wigged-out, specimen.

johnson's picture
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johnson commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:57am

I'd say Parko's wave at Snapper will go down as one of those iconic images. Not just for the wave, but for the story surrounding it: While the bloated WSL machine hedged their bets and spent the entire night shifting their operations down to Kirra where a group of rookies and journeymen ultimately spent the day lost at sea (mostly), two world champs on the verge of retirement went and packed pits at some of the best Snapper ever, right in front of the abandoned comp site.

I thought it said a lot about the current WSL, and how they've lost the flexibility of years gone by. With Kelly out injured and JJF, Mick & Joel losing early, the rest of the field mostly looked like kittens in the unfamiliar territory, also leaving a massive power void on tour which was eventually filled by a rampaging Medina later in the year.

Basically it foreshadowed a changing of the guard, while also highlighting a lot of the problems with the WSL's current model and it's position at odds with the broader spirit of surfing.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:24am

Hmm, don't recall it, musn't be that iconic ;p

Jono's picture
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Jono commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:41am

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kirra Surf Shop (@kirrasurfshop) on

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:46am

Wow, haven't seen that, you guys up there must see it all the time at the shop, hence front of mind.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:11pm

Wonder if we've still got the surfcam footage, that showed how he towed in!

thedrip's picture
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thedrip commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 4:26pm

I honestly can’t believe the guys who could paddle, yet tow. Especially when there are other guys paddling in at the same wave.

Towing is easy and doesn’t require much skill. It is also greedy if you could be paddling.

I use to do a lot of towing when it got too big for me to paddle and I pretty much quit after a frightening experience. I am an average surfer and it was the lack if courage, not skill that put me off. I decided the biggest barrel of my life was not something I wanted to repeat. Yet it was easy to get in, set a line and belt for the channel.

The real skill in tow surfing is with the driver and them being able to put the surfer in the right place and then doing quick pick ups. Yet we valorise those who get into the wave easily and have a zillion kilometres an hour to pick where they want to be.

Short of waves in “omigod” territory, towing is boring and the. It is more about gonads than skill - everyone cops one in the head eventually when towing. I now have much more fun getting 5-10 waves a session, rather then 40. The renaissance in paddle surfing stupidly big waves suggests a lot of people agree.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:49am

"Packed pits" with the aid of 310 horsepower.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 12:04am

Nice one , My only gripe would be "jet ski assist " on a wave he could have paddled.

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:57am

Zak Noyle's photo of Dede Surian riding the wave full of plastic - I cant ever forget that one. Nor Nathan Fletcher's code red - the phantom video footage by Chris Bryant - WTF? Those two are seared in my mind..so I guess iconic shots do come up; maybe we don't have the attention span to see them anymore?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:24am

Following on from Island Bay's recollection above RE Tom Carroll dropping in.

I found the offending image but it's not quite as remembered. The cropped image is of Mark Foo at Inside Sunset and used as the cover of Surfing, May 1986 - the composition of the shot is almost identical to Aaron Chang's shot of Matt Mondragon.

Inside, the pulled back image is run on the table of contents page and lo and behold, here comes Tom!

While even deeper in the mag is another shot of Matt Mondragon on, what I assume, is the same wave as Chang's image only taken a fraction of a second earlier and more landward.

I also found an article by Aaron Chang where he claims the shot of Matt Mondragon is the most published surf photo in history. Hard to verify that stat, however the back story is that he almost didn't take the photo as there were so many photographers in the channel at Sunset that he felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up.

So far we can tick off Aaron Chang, Dan Merkel, and Jeff Divine, three of the heaviest water photographers of the age, floating about facing their camera towards Sunset's inside bowl.

The last hurrah of Paumalu before KS embraced Pipe and the spotlight followed shortly thereafter.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:56am

Aaron Changs pic ..is that the one that gives a false impression of the joint and makes it look to easy ?

inoshishi sex

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:55am

The cover shot. Too pretty. Too perfect.

niclong's picture
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niclong commented Monday, 9 Dec 2019 at 9:09am

Surely Laird's Teahupoo wave would be the most printed in history?

NLP

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:34am

Hah, I was thinking about how much I'd gotten right - and not!

Good on you for the detective work. Goes to show how you confuse things so many years later.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:43am

A few burned into my memory- Evo in that tube Cronulla point, Dane Kealoha standing tall in either Backdoor or inside Sunset, can't recall which, Maurice Cole soul arching off the bottom, bombing French beachie, Vince Collier (God rest his violent soul) decimating that wall with one giant hack and finally, Jason Buttenshaw in the clearest af clear tubes at D'Bah. Think it was a Martin Tullemans shot. Apologies to the other photogs for not remembering.

If anyone could dig those up that would be awesome.

Actually, a gallery of some shots peeps mentioned above would be a good addendum to this article.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Sunday, 8 Dec 2019 at 9:04am

Some Golden Oldies there Zen.

Bnkref's picture
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Bnkref commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:59am

I was going to say Nathan Fletcher's abominable wave at Teahupoo when I read the heading but I see it made the cut.

Bnkref's picture
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Bnkref commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:03pm

Thinking back to my days as a grommie lidder and prolific reader of Riptide etc at the time.

There was an iconic one of Tim Jones charging waimea shorey.

bill-poster's picture
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bill-poster commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:04pm

Timeless

Womble123's picture
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Womble123 commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:16pm

Go Munga! didn't that make at least two concurrent covers that month?

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:15pm

I can't think of any iconic shots since god knows when, thay cutty of currens or carroll's snap? Maybe yeah the best would be that dude at no kandui with that super short board or maybe that shot of HTs with empty wave and full golden light. (But pretty old now)

But i think there is iconic videos still.

1. First footage of Kellys pool those empty early morning waves and his reaction

2. Mick fanning at that snake right

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:17pm

Chappy Jennings shot at Pipe
Rabbit in the tube at Kirra
MP's cutback
some guy doing a layback in the tube cant rember who or where need to back thru my posters.

peterb's picture
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peterb commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:43pm

The Duke, holding Isabel on his fingertips, but no, I forgot, the pic was rigged. So how about the shot of Paul Gebaur dropping down a Sunset face stretched perpendicular like elastic on the cover of a magazine about fifty years ago. Also rigged.

Cookie1's picture
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Cookie1 commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 12:58pm

The art of embellishment is fading due to saturation coverage even at your local, but it still lives.Watched a mate's kid surfing the other day. He got a 50 metre ride and wiggled his hips a couple of times. Talking to his friends on the beach he spent some time describing all the re-entries and cutbacks he did plus apparently a nice cover up at the end. He saw me grinning and asked why. I said "you are a true surfer now mate" and he asked why that was. "Because you know how to bullshit" was my answer.

Old enough to know better, dumb enough not to care.

wally's picture
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wally commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 2:24pm

My vote for most iconic would be the John Severson photo of Greg Noll on the beach at Pipeline.

Also, the most iconic boardies in surf history.

peterb's picture
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peterb commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 5:35pm

There’s a grainy old vid of Noll trying to control that board on a very big bumpy left at outside Pipe .. bloke had gluefeet.

Willliam's picture
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Willliam commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 2:38pm

Some of the posters I had on my wall:

MP cutback
Curren cutback
Slater pigdog barrel from G-Land 96
Taylor Knox side shot on his $50k wave at Todos Santos
Jay Moriarity going over fall sat Mavericks sequence
Any Irons standing tall at Chopes

PrecambrianPeter's picture
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PrecambrianPeter commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 5:13pm

Mason on a flaring pipe bomb from a year or two ago?! Think it was a screen grab from snapt

GODS QUAD's picture
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GODS QUAD commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 6:49pm

Surprised the classic shot of Andy at Chopes hasn't been mentioned!? Absolutely mental. I remember Tracks printed it as a huge pull-out poster and I had it pasted up on the walls for years.

Hard to really recall a recent one that's stopped me in my tracks like this. Maybe Ramon at Cloudbreak or Fletcher getting detonated at Chopes or Dan Gudangs razor wrap in Hawaii.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 7:07pm

Recent..Kelly Slaters Cloudbreak pit, during a heat (or final?) arms outstretched....late arvo. From memory i don't think he made the barrel but it was a wide open heaver.
And for what its worth, Noll's wave looks pretty bloody huge to me still.
There was a photo of Occ doing a big full rail cuttie that Billabong used to put on the back of their T's that was pretty impressive. Yellow boardies. It was the first surf poster i ever had, i think early 90's. The two T.C's and their respective shots are classics. And Munga! That pic is timeless.

p-funk's picture
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p-funk commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 9:54pm

Bruce Irons on that bright red rhino chaser at maxing Cloudy.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:09pm

Fuck yeah! That is a ridiculous wave. Incredible pic.

mick-burnside's picture
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mick-burnside commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 10:53pm

to some degree it personal.......as a grom you might have had jackie dunn at pipe? or chappy jennings at pipe on your wall......30 years later you might have marti paradisis stern barrelled on your office wall........empty nesting n lifestyle retirement you might have a jon frank mood style or russ ord mad empty big on the living room wall.......from a surf photog point of view that infinite awesome image is still always there to be got and will be......its just getting harder to find and each next extreme natures moment rarer.......in the last few years mick fanning under the northern lights was an epic pic.....for me one ill never forget is a 3 shot sequence of perfect barrelling pambula river in an old mag.......seeing it in real life on fam holidays in late 70s put me on a never ending path trying to get epic surf pics........it is infinite......that infinite pic is just getting mathematically harder to capture......less wave discoveries, more surfers ,more photogs, waterproof mobile phones, idiot proof cameras, go pros ......shane dorian and anthony walsh 360 go pro barrel pic form video in remote oz sunrise .....is an all time classic hands down......theyll keep coming for sure.

mick b

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:33pm

i remember that Pambula shot with the bush backdrop.

Mindless and timeless.

Good post.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

tangles 65's picture
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tangles 65 commented Friday, 6 Dec 2019 at 2:08pm

Ah, my mate had that Jackie Dunn poster on his wall. Used to spend ages staring at it as a 14 year old. The red board with the white lightning bolt, and the track he left on the wave face with his board and hand.

I'm 54 now btw haha.

tangles

sean-doherty's picture
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sean-doherty commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 10:59am

My shaper Bobby Brown had the same Jackie Dunn shot up on the wall of his shaping bay in Forster... slicing across Pipe from behind the peak. I stood mesmerised by it every time I went in... along with the topless calendar on the wall from the mechanic around the corner.

wbat's picture
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wbat commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:03pm

What about that shot of Wayne Dean on that flawless 5ft backlit wave at D bah(?). Can't remember if he is bottom turning or cutting back but the mood is burnt into the head.

Paulsy's picture
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Paulsy commented Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 11:57pm

ASL ran that shot of Matt Mondragon on the cover of their 100th. A lot of the classic shots in this thread were featured in that issue, including the Cronulla Point tube Zen mentioned above - epic story to match the shot, that one! (assuming it’s the same one - hell of a barrel!)

drodders's picture
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drodders commented Friday, 6 Dec 2019 at 11:36am

Richard Cram at Ulladulla Bomby

Rick Snowden's picture
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Rick Snowden commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 8:38am

Love it, Stu. Used to stare for hours at TC's snap thumb-tacked above my bunk bed.

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gingeryeti commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 9:15am
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gingeryeti commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 9:17am
crg's picture
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crg commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 12:05pm

Obviously the Jackie Dunn is a fav (see profile photo!)

Others I would include are:

The Munga shot at Sunset
A landscape shot of John Shortis heading out at G-Land
Chappy's pipeline "warehouse" tube
A shot of some guy named Kirby Cottler at the bottom of massive Sunset.

TC's snap was always a video moment rather than a photo for me...it's like you needed to see the whole to truly appreciate it.

I don't think iconic photos are less or more really. The shift from print to digital had the effect of making current images less permanent. Every photo I mentioned above was a poster or cut out on my wall as a grom which became burned in my mind and imagination. I mind surfed them, visualised the situations, tried to comprehend their experience. I doubt that happens on insta.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Andre Avino's picture
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Andre Avino commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 12:36pm

Andy Irons carving at Pipe with that Japanese flag board.

brownie48's picture
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brownie48 commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 6:40pm

The most recent photo that I can recall that could be possibly considered an icon shot is Leroy Bellet's shot of Michel Bourez from behind him in the barrel at Chopes

mattlock's picture
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mattlock commented Saturday, 7 Dec 2019 at 8:05pm

"Why are there no longer iconic surf photos?" Maybe saturation of content is the reason,

NathB's picture
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NathB commented Sunday, 8 Dec 2019 at 3:01pm

Peter Joli - Reef Draining Teahupoo Tahiti

fcalmon's picture
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fcalmon commented Monday, 9 Dec 2019 at 9:19pm

Kelly at backdoor, photo taken from the base of the wave in the water. Some shops still have it on a full wall

fcalmon's picture
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fcalmon commented Monday, 9 Dec 2019 at 9:20pm

Kelly at backdoor, stand up barrel. Photo taken from the base of the wave in the water. Some shops still have it on a full wall

fcalmon's picture
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fcalmon commented Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019 at 9:02am
Remigogo's picture
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Remigogo commented Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019 at 9:03am

Stephanie Gilmore standing in that Jbay barrel lighting up an ear to ear grin is the pic that regularly come to my subconscious vision.

Almost lost a computer screen in a failed bid to blu tack image onto living room wall.

MattyDunbar's picture
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MattyDunbar commented Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019 at 12:29am

The photos definitely have less impact due to the saturation of surf photography
I think they still exist though..
- Leeroy's double tow shots
- Coreys Parko shot at snapper
- Coreys blue Owen shot from south coast... covers and ripcurl ads everywhere
- Laurie Towner Shipsterns shot (maybe Spencer Hornby)
-Chris Burkard's wide snow backdrop (Alaska?) imagery

Buffy's picture
Buffy's picture
Buffy commented Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019 at 12:55pm

Agree, Video sells out the circumstance of the still pic.
But when does it complement the session?
Surely the best right footage ( Skeleton bay being the left - G Land quikie pro before then ) to be exposed was the La barra Del la can't go there " no contest " flick from mex contest . Made Snapper look like a west texas 80s wave pool .